Chris Gayle and Shahid Afridi were the heroes of the WT20, last night, who rocked Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium, with the mind blowing performances.
While Gayle made it a cake walk to a century, Afridi rediscovered his boom with the bat as the veteran destroyers powered the West Indies and Pakistan to victories at the World Twenty20, yesterday.
Gayle’s century was done in just 47 balls and among those, 11 sixes made it easy for him to witness the landmark 100 and thus very comfortably chased down England's total of 182 for six with 11 balls remaining in their tournament opener.
On the other hand, Afridi made it big with both bat and ball, as he skippered Pakistan to a comprehensive 55-run victory, against Bangladesh in Kolkata, drawing a line, under his team's troubled build-up.
In the recent times, both Gayle and Afridi made some hot headlines, with controversies. But the last night roaring made shut all the past ones now.
Gayle was involved in controversy, after he asked an Australian TV presenter for a date, that too live on the air, during the Big Bash league.
But after the match, last night, in an interview, Gayle said his "fantastic" innings was designed to impress his team mate, Sulieman Benn.
"Before I went out Sulieman said you're going to 'entertain me'," Gayle said.
"I wanted to entertain my team-mate -- he's my drinking partner as well."
After his blistering 19-ball 49 helped Pakistan post a commanding total of 201 for five, Afridi took two key wickets in a tidy spell that helped Bangladesh to halt at 146 for 6, from their 20 overs.
Afridi was in the controversy, after he said that, he is getting more love from India, than in Pakistan.
Speaking in a post match interview, “It's a big event and I thought I should take responsibility as the captain,” Afridi said, after being named man-of-the-match.
Afridi’s extraordinary batting skills once earned him the nickname "Boom Boom", he has endured a torrid time at the crease in the last couple of years and some observers felt his ability to play a match-winning innings had gone for good.
But after promoting himself to number 4 in the order, Afridi smacked 4 boundaries and 4 sixes to help Pakistan register their 2nd highest score in T20s.
"I was hungry. I was keen to perform well for my country... As senior player, I had to lead by example," he said.
Little had gone right for Pakistan in recent weeks. After a dismal showing in the Asia Cup, they had to delay their departure to India for the World T20 in a row over security.
But the things started changing after Afridi stepped onto the grease, where he won the toss and opted to bat.
He was soon vindicated when Ahmed Shehzad (52) and Mohammad Hafeez (64) hit entertaining 50s to stitch a 95-run second wicket partnership and lay a solid foundation for others to build on.
Mohammad Amir bowled opener Sarkar just in the 3rd ball and starting from there, within a short time, cricket loves understood that Bangladesh were not in the hunt.
Afridi bowled Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman, after they put on 43 for the 2nd wicket.
Surprisingly, Amir, who served prison and five -year ban for spot fixing, managed to bring impressive 2-27.
All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan put up some resistance, top-scoring with an unbeaten 50, but his knock never looked like altering the outcome.
Mumbai’s match appeared as one-sided with England's score proving to be well within the reach of the West Indies.
Joe Root top-scored for England with a tidy 48, including two exquisite sixes, off 36 balls.
A late flurry from England skipper Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler gave their innings a bit of momentum at the end. But Morgan admitted that England had hoped to put 200 on the board before Gayle let rip.
After a relatively quiet start, Gayle hit two consecutive sixes off spinner Adil Rashid in the 9th over as the West Indies sat at 85-2 at the half-way stage of their innings.
Gayle then roared against Benstokes in the 11 th, being the sole reason of Windies assault.
"With Chris' experience it was easy really in the end," said West Indies captain Darren Sammy.
By Phani Ch