Charles and Gayle drive West Indies on

West Indies' Chris Gayle scored 58 runs

West Indies' Chris Gayle scored 58 runs

First published in National Sport News © by

Johnson Charles and Chris Gayle both clubbed half-centuries as West Indies set England 179 for five in the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight match at Pallekele.

England knew all about master blaster Gayle, of course, but might have been a little more surprised by his opening partner Charles.

Gayle (58) was first to go, after a stand of 103. But 23-year-old St Lucian Charles (84), without a century in any form of professional cricket, stayed the course to record his maiden Twenty20 international 50.

When he went at last, mistiming another attempted big hit to be caught at long-on off Jade Dernbach, he had hit 10 fours and three sixes from 56 balls - and done most to ensure champions England must bat well to begin this second stage of their defence with a victory.

After West Indies won the toss, Gayle soon signalled his intent with three fours in one over from Dernbach. But it was not until England brought on their spinners, to try to rule the 'middle overs' that Gayle and Charles went into overdrive.

The powerplay yielded a near par 47, but without loss, and that proved to be a platform for the Windies openers to up the ante.

Consecutive overs of spin from Patel and Graeme Swann cost 37 runs. Those three sixes and six fours took Gayle past 50 in only 29 balls, and the West Indies were in three figures in the 11th over.

England should have had a much-needed breakthrough when Steven Finn put down Charles on 39 off Swann at long-off. But England would doubtless have swapped that for what happened off the very next ball, Finn holding his nerve this time to cling on at long-on and see the back of Gayle.

England celebrated appropriately, and soon had number three Marlon Samuels cheaply too - caught at point by Morgan as Stuart Broad interrupted the Windies' flow with a wicket-maiden.

Charles was still at large, but England recalled Finn early to test Kieron Pollard with pace - a move that worked instantly, as the big hitter skied a catch to the cover boundary from the first ball of the over to go for just a single.

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