MUMBAI: Chris Gayle hopes to smash another century when West Indies returns at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday for its World Twenty20 semifinal against India.
“This is a perfect opportunity to actually start the tournament and try and pick up where I left off, get a big one for the team and put them in a winning position,” Gayle said on Tuesday.
Gayle’s 47-ball century against England gave West Indies a winning momentum in the tournament before Afghanistan broke the three-match winning sequence of the 2012 champion on a turning wicket at Nagpur.
A niggling hamstring injury denied Gayle a chance to bat against Sri Lanka before he was rested in a close win against South Africa on another turning track.
He returned against Afghanistan but lasted only two deliveries – flicking the first one for four before getting clean bowled off the next ball.
But the batting-friendly wickets in Mumbai with short square boundaries ideally suits the power hitting of Gayle as West Indies raced to 183-4 against England with 11 balls to spare.
South Africa, also, twice scored over 200 runs at the Wankhede Stadium. In the absence of at least two key players, leg-spinner Sunil Narine and all-rounder Kieron Pollard, West Indies has ousted South Africa and defending champion Sri Lanka from the tournament.
“That goes to show the strength of West Indies cricket back home,” Gayle said.
“The guys who actually replaced the first picks, someone like Carlos Brathwaite, he won us the game against South Africa … and the bench is still strong enough.”
Gayle said that six-run defeat against Afghanistan has only increased the motivation of West Indies to do well in the semifinal.
“The only positive you can look from the Afghanistan game is the motive,” Gayle said.
“We saw India bounce back from losing games as well, so it can put us in a strong position as well to actually lift our game and do better on Thursday.”
Virat Kohli has been a key in guiding the host into the semifinals with his two masterful half-centuries against arch-rival Pakistan and an unbeaten 82 off 51 balls in the do-or-die last group match against Australia.
But Gayle was not surprised by the sublime form of India’s master middle-order batsman, who has scored 184 runs at an impressive average of 92.00.
“No surprise there. I have said it over the years he is going to be the world beater he is today,” he said.
“He has been fantastic right through the year. He has been in a great form. He can still get runs but in a losing cause. We’ll be happy with that as well.