Written by Staff Writer
12 Jan, 2015 | 8:32 am
The Wanderers is home to what it calls the greatest ODI of all time the 438 game and now it is also home to what could become known as the most thrilling T20 the 236 game.
West Indies pulled off the highest successful run chase in the shortest format, propelled by Chris Gayle’s 90 off 41 balls, held together by Marlon Samuels’ seventh T20 half-century and finished by Darren Sammy, who led his side to a series win with a game to spare.
South Africa could be forgiven for being shell-shocked. They would have thought their chances of squaring the series were strong after Faf du Plessis became the second South African to score a T20 hundred, helping them post their second-highest score in the format, and with the knowledge they had never lost a T20 defending a 180 plus score before.
There was one man who could change that and change it he did. Gayle scored his only international T20 century at the Wanderers against South Africa in 2007 and seemed set to bring up his second with a bruising batting performance. He could not quite repeat the feat but his team-mates ensured his efforts did not go to waste. West Indies scored the second-highest number of runs in the Powerplay, 86, and Samuels cashed in as well. While Samuels played a supporting role, the second-wicket stand grew to 152 off 11.5 overs.
The required run rate was whittled down to under 10 runs an over when Tahir bowled the first boundary-less over of the innings and the pressure started to mount again. Gayle was desperate to see his team through and went after Wiese but the bowler took pace off the ball and had the Jamaican caught behind.
That was where it could have all gone wrong for West Indies. On Friday, they lost five for 50 when Gayle departed and this time they threatened to unravel similarly. Tahir had another tight over, with just five runs coming from it, then Samuels holed out and Kieron Pollard was also deceived by a slower ball. Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo enjoyed two big hits each and fell attempting a third but the important thing was that even as wickets fell, West Indies kept adding runs.
When Darren Sammy joined Denesh Ramdin, West Indies needed 23 off 14 balls which set the scene for the captain to play a knock like the ones he had in the World T20. He kept his cool while neither Abbott nor de Lange held theirs and secured the victory with four balls to spare.
South Africa would not have expected that after they were treated to a show by their own leader. Du Plessis was called on in yet another mini-crisis, after the first two wickets went cheaply, and was joined by David Miller, promoted to No. 4. They posted 105 runs for the third wicket at a run rate of 12.85 – a fraction more than the Gayle-Samuels stand of 12.84 – and took advantage of a West Indies attack who could not find their lengths.
Sulieman Benn was either too full or too short and Sheldon Cottrell offered too many low full tosses. Their stand could have grown into something of even more substance but Miller was run out thanks to good footwork from Russell before he could reach a half-century, leaving du Plessis on his own. The middle order did not contribute enough around the captain’s hundred, which came off 46 balls, one more than Richard Levi’s record in T20 internationals. In the end, he would probably have taken less if he could have enjoyed what West Indies did.
Source : Cricinfo
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