Chris Gayle has become the first person to score a double century in a World Cup match as batting records tumbled in West Indies’ encounter against Zimbabwe.
The destructive opener overcame a nervy start, including surviving a tight lbw call in the first over, to thump 10 fours and an incredible 16 sixes in a superb knock of 215 off 147 deliveries – the third highest one-day international score of all time.
The 35-year-old needed just 33 balls in his second ton as he moved into an elite club, with Gary Kirsten recording the previous highest score at cricket’s premier 50-over competition when he made 188 not out for South Africa against the United Arab Emirates in February 1996.
Gayle’s landmark innings was the first individual one-day double hundred outside of India and the fifth overall.
He fell to the final ball of the innings as the Windies reached 372 for two.
The left-hander also played his part in setting the highest ever partnership in ODIs as he and Marlon Samuels (133 not out) scored all of their side’s runs.
Zimbabwe actually made an ideal start despite losing the toss as Tinashe Panyangara’s second delivery nipped back into Dwayne Smith’s off stump, but that was as good as it got.
Gayle was rapped on the pads two balls later but he was reprieved by the on-field umpire and the decision review system.
It was a crucial let-off for the veteran left-hander and he gradually started to find some fluency with a towering six off Sean Williams giving an indication of what was to follow.
He brought up his century – his 22nd in ODIs and first since June 2013 – in the 36th over, a position from which he propelled himself in expert fashion.
Gayle was given a life on 121 when he was caught on the long-on boundary, but the umpire correctly ruled bowler Tinashe Panyangara had overstepped and the batsman made sure they were punished.
He fell to the final ball, skying a catch to midwicket, but by then it was damage limitation for the Zimbabweans.
Gayle and Samuels’ partnership eclipsed the previous best of 331 set by Indian greats Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid against New Zealand in Hyderabad in November 1999.