Gayle powers Windies near 300 against Pakistan

Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 21:12 [IST]
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Skipper Chris Gayle hit a brilliant century to lift the West Indies to a challenging 294-9 in the first one-day international against Pakistan here on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old left-hander smashed a 106-ball 113 for his 17th one-day hundred, giving his team a solid platform with a 125-run opening stand with Sewnarine Chattergoon (33) after winning the toss and electing to bat.

The West Indian openers were not the only ones to make the most of a docile Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch, with Ramnaresh Sarwan (55 off 61 balls) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (36 off 33) also punishing lacklustre Pakistan bowling.

In the absence of Shoaib Akhtar, ruled out of the match because of a calf muscle injury, Pakistani bowlers struggled to get early wickets. Sohail Tanveer was the pick of the bowlers with 3-42.

Gayle took full advantage of some short bowling. He smacked four boundaries in one Abdur Rauf over and then greeted first-change Gul with two powerful sixes as he reached his half-century off just 36 deliveries.

Chattergoon ably supported his skipper with four boundaries during his 55-ball knock before he holed out to Shoaib Malik in the 20th over.

Gayle, who reached a hundred with a single off Malik, failed to capitalise on a drop catch by Gul off his own bowling and pulled straight into the hands of Shahid Afridi at mid-wicket in the same over.

Sarwan took the baton from Gayle and reached his fifty with a delightful cover drive off Gul for his fifth boundary. He then fell to smart leg-side catch by wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal off Afridi in the next over.

Chanderpaul and Xavier Marshall (26) gave the final touches as West Indies notched 71 off the last ten overs.

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