Chris Gayle, sporting a 301 jersey number, playing his 301st ODI, supposedly bid adieu to the longer formats of the game with the final ODI against India at Trinidad. Opting to bat first, Gayle walked out with a familiar swagger and started off in typical fashion.
Like Jofra Archer's tweets which became infamous for uncannily predicting future events, Gayle summed up his whole career with one exceptional knock. Opening the innings, Gayle was a calm, self-restraint self. After four overs, West Indies were 13/0 with Gayle on 10 off 15, with a storm evidently brewing in the background.
Before the rain poured down at Trinidad, Gayle started a storm with his belligerent hitting. He hit Shami for three fours and a six in the sixth over to race to 30 in 22 balls. Even as Lewis showcased a younger version of Gayle at the other end, the Universe Boss bid his time and launched Bhuvneshwar in the ninth over - a four and a six to take him to the cusp of his half-century.
In the next over, Gayle welcomed Khaleel Ahmed with two sixes and a four before slamming another four in his next over. He was dismissed shortly after at 72 from 41 balls.
Right through the innings, Gayle was intent on putting up a show for his fans but as has been the case through his career, he took time and showed patience before unfurling the full fury of his bat.
From 13 in the first 4 overs, West Indies went on to make 16, 20, 14, 16, 18 and 17 in the 5th to 10th overs of the innings. The innings summed up what Gayle has all been about in his two-decade-long ODI career.
He walked off to a standing ovation from the crowd and personal hugs and acts of camaraderie with the Indian players. As an ODI giant close to 40 years of age and as a well-respected opposition player, Gayle walks off as a legend of the game, one who will always be remembered for his carefree approach, yet deadly results.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Randy Brooks