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Gayle fireworks not enough for Windies

Chris Gayle struck the first ever Twenty20 international century but it was not enough as Herschel Gibbs lead South Africa to victory by by eight wickets.

Gayle blasted 10 sixes, another record, in a pulsating 117 from 57 balls.

Graeme Smith was hit painfully on the hand off the first ball as South Africa chased 206 but the Windies missed three catches and leaked a record 23 wides.

Herschelle Gibbs, with a runner, fired 13 fours and two sixes in an epic 90 to seal victory with 14 balls remaining.

The bright lights and carnival atmosphere even affected the languid Gayle, who skipped out to the wicket like a prize fighter.

Gayle, freed from the pressure of captaincy, flicked Shaun Pollock over mid-wicket for the opening six in the third over and then dished out the punishment to Makhaya Ntini.

A lofted drive straight down the ground was followed next ball by a stupendous towering stroke that soared like a firework into the second tier at long-off.

Another extraordinary stroke brought him six more, leaning back he sliced it to third man and the altitude helped to just elude the boundary fielder.

It was that rare breed a quiet single that brought up his fifty from 26 balls and at the halfway stage it was 109-0.

The big shots continued amid the dancers in camouflage hot pants in the crowd, and having appeared to damage his arm with another whirling dervish follow through for six, he decided to flick one casually next ball - which went even further.

Smith, finding things difficult, edged in the 14th over but it brought in Marlon Samuels, who took all of one delivery to play himself in before swinging his second for six.

But it was all Gayle, and having sent the ball clean out of the massive Wanderers stadium, another breathtaking shot was bounced back off the players' tunnel.

The shell-shocked South African fielders were compelled to shake Gayle's hand when his incredible innings ended with a top-edge straight up in the 17th over.

Had it not been for Gayle, the hosts would have been firmly in the driving seat, with the other West Indies batsmen struggling to adapt, although skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan hit a six with one hand in the final over.

Beginning their quest to score in excess of 10 an over, the Proteas saw their captain floored by a hostile opening delivery from Daren Powell.

Smith bravely battled on but was clearly impaired and it benefitted his team when he drove to cover.

With the score on 59-1 and Gibbs on 20, Dwayne Bravo juggled and spilled a crucial chance on the cover boundary.

Dwayne Smith conceded 20 from his opening over and the required rate dipped below 10 for the first time, but after Fidel Edwards came on for the ninth over and sent down the 14th wide, he ousted AB de Villiers who got a towering leading edge.

With 100 needed from the final 10 overs Gibbs was dropped on the boundary again by Shiv Chanderpaul and reached 100 from 50 balls with the powerful Kemp, who was badly missed in the outfield by Samuels.

Gibbs defied injury to display some superb clean hitting, sharing 120 with the powerful Justin Kemp (46) as the Windies were left to rue their lax display in the field and their failure to build on Gayle's outstanding innings.

source - bbc.co.uk
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