Cricket World Cup 2019: West Indies hammer Pakistan as Chris Gayle smashes 50 in seven-wicket victory

Oshane Thomas was excellent with the ball on his World Cup debut, taking four wickets in a devastating performance at Trent Bridge

Jack Rathborn
Friday 31 May 2019 14:57
England v South Africa opens 2019 Cricket World Cup

Chris Gayle broke the record for the most sixes in World Cup history on his way to smashing a half-century in the West Indies' comprehensive seven-wicket win over Pakistan at Trent Bridge.

At a ground synonymous with mammoth totals in one-day internationals in recent years, Pakistan's carelessness in the face of the short-ball tactic meant they crumpled to 105 all out in 21.4 overs.

Oshane Thomas was the main beneficiary with four for 27 on his tournament bow before Gayle took centre stage amid a blizzard of boundaries as the Windies overhauled their target with 36.2 overs to spare.

There will be fears over the 39-year-old's fitness after he seemed to injure his lower back shortly before his dismissal but his 50 from 34 balls quietened a largely pro-Pakistan crowd.

His day was made easier by Pakistan posting their second worst World Cup score after being invited to bat first, as the pace quartet of Thomas, Jason Holder, Andre Russell and Sheldon Cottrell shared all 10 wickets.

It was Russell, playing in only his third ODI since November 2015, who laid the blueprint for the rest to follow as his introduction hastened Pakistan's demise.

A persistent knee injury since completing a 12-month doping whereabouts suspension in January 2018 has impeded Russell's progress but he was recently named most valuable player at the Indian Premier League.

And after Imam-ul-Haq was strangled down the legside for two off Cottrell, prompting the left-arm seamer's now customary march and salute celebration, Russell came to the fore.

A brute of a bouncer caught Pakistan dangerman Fakhar Zaman by surprise and he missed an attempted pull, with the ball hitting the grille of his helmet before dislodging the bails.

Russell showed no inclination of abandoning the ploy, which left Haris Sohail routinely troubled and, perhaps anticipating another lifter, the batsman could only get an edge behind when one was angled across him.

Russell's fiery spell ended with figures of 3-1-4-2 but Pakistan were given barely any respite following his surprise withdrawal from the attack.

The in-form Babar Azam was dropped at backward point on 12 but could add only another 10 runs before he edged a rising, wider delivery from Thomas to wicketkeeper Hope, who took a brilliant catch diving to his right.

Hope had his fourth catch of the morning when Sarfraz Ahmed gloved down the leg-side off Holder - the not out decision overturned on review - and Pakistan quickly subsided after their captain's dismissal.

They added only another 30 runs for their final five wickets, largely thanks to some lusty blows from Wahab Riaz, one of only four Pakistan batsmen to reach double figures before being cleaned up by Thomas for 18 off 11 balls.

The West Indies ran riot vs Pakistan (AFP/Getty)

In response, Gayle made a rusty start but warmed to his task with back-to-back sixes off Hasan Ali, which took the evergreen opener past AB De Villiers' record for the most sixes hit in the tournament's history.

Mohammad Amir, who was passed fit after missing the recent England series, ensured there would be no abject surrender from Pakistan as he snared both Shai Hope and Darren Bravo.

Gayle was a long way from his fluent best but still brought up a 33-ball half-century, falling off the next delivery to Amir - as the left-armer found form by returning figures of three for 26.

Nicholas Pooran took up the baton and finished with 34 from 19 balls as the 1975 and 1979 champions started their tournament in ideal fashion, while Pakistan, winners in 1992, succumbed to their 11th successive ODI defeat.

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