ODI series against England a glimpse of Windies’ greatness to come
By Brandon Corlette
Universe Boss Chris Gayle had a record breaking home series against world number one-ranked England ODI team. Speaking to the media after the final One Day International match had been played in St Lucia, the 39-year-old Gayle said representing the West Indies is the best thing he has ever done in cricket. He rated this ODI performance as the better series in home conditions.
On the brink of retirement, Gayle’s performance was reminiscent of the years when he was in his prime. This series, he scored 424 runs in four innings, hitting two centuries and two half-centuries. Prior to the first ODI being played in Barbados, Gayle had announced he would retire from ODIs after the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup event.
Records were broken by Gayle in his final ODI home series. He smashed 39 sixes in four innings, the most in a bilateral series. For his performance, he was adjudged “player of the series”. In the final ODI, Gayle hit the fastest half-century by a Windies player, reaching the milestone in 19 balls. Ironically, the record was held by Darren Sammy, and Gayle broke the record at the Darren Sammy Stadium.
At the end of the series, Gayle finished with an average of 106 and a strike rate of 134.17 in his monumental series, wherein he passed 10,000 ODI runs and was on the verge of eclipsing the phenomenal Brian Charles Lara’s record for most ODI runs scored by a West Indian. Gayle currently has 10,151 runs, only 254 less than the great Lara.
Reflection of ODI series
West Indies could not have asked for a better series to answer the pending World Cup questions. They played England, the tournament’s favourites, the number one ranked ODI team, and levelled the series 2-2.
Apart from Gayle’s 424 runs for Windies, England’s captain Eoin Morgan scored the second highest runs of the series. Morgan complied 256 runs in four innings, recording one century and two half centuries at an average of 64. Jos Butler scored 211 runs in the series at an average of 70.33, with the best strike rate of the series: 143.53. And Joe Root managed 144 runs after scoring a century.
For the Windies, only Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo and Shai Hope scored over 100 runs this series.
With the World Cup looming, youngsters such as Hetmyer, Hope and newbie John Campbell will have to let their bats do the talking. Hetmyer scored 144 runs in the series, including a brilliant 104,* but he had a few failures, despite ending the series at an average of 70. Without doubt, he is the most exciting batsman on the globe at the moment, and the World Cup will be the biggest event of his life.
Shai Hope entered the ODI series with the highest reputation as the best Windies ODI batsman after his good ODI series in India and Bangladesh. He had an off series against England, scoring 115 runs at a below par average of 28.75. Darren Bravo is still finding his feet. He had a fair return ODI series with the bat, scoring 133 runs at an average of 44.33.
In the bowling department, England’s wrist spinner Adil Rashid finished with the most wickets in the series. He grabbed nine wickets at an average of 20.77, with a best bowling figure of 5-85 in the Gayle-storm ODI series.
Oshane Thomas also finished with nine wickets, including his maiden five wicket haul in the fifth and final ODI.
Sheldon Cottrell (7), Mark Wood (7) and Jason Holder (7) were among the wickets in the ODI series. Gayle featured in two big partnerships in the series, including a 176- run partnership and a 131- run partnership with Hope.
After the ODI and Test series in the Caribbean, England are behind. The Englishmen will be seeking different results after posting their lowest ODI total in the fifth ODI. The T20I series will commence on Tuesday March 5, 2019 at 16:00h local time at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia.