It was entirely Gayle’s night: England skipper Morgan

Mumbai, March 17 (IANS) England skipper Eoin Morgan heaped praise on swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle for his unbeaten knock of 100 which steered West Indies to a comfortable six wicket victory in their Group 1 World Twenty20 clash here.

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Batting first, England posted 182/6 in 20 overs, thanks to Joe Root’s 48.

In reply, the 36-year-old hard-hitting batsman unleashed his batting skills, striking five boundaries and 11 massive sixes in his 48-ball innings. Windies scored 183/4 in 18.1 overs to win the match.

“Yes he (Gayle) certainly did what he does. He was outstanding today in conditions probably that favoured the bat a lot more than the ball. We could have been better by the way we executed our skills I think. But when he got in, he didn’t give us any chances and took on our bowlers,” Morgan said at the post match press conference at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday.

“We have played against him before where things worked in our favour but today (Wednesday) it was his night entirely. Our plans were good and execution of them was all right. But he is a world class player; he played really well tonight,” he said.

Asked if there were any plans to stop Gayle, the 29-year-old said, “There are number of plans to stop him. We bowled short to him for a while; he countered that. He is a very difficult batsman to bowl to. He plays a couple of dot balls but also has the ability to take any of our bowlers down, just in one over.”

The skipper believes that a total of 200 was within reach considering the start their batsmen got, but credited the West Indies’ bowlers for not allowing them to convert 20s into 50s and 50s into 60s.

“We would have liked to post 200 on the board. At no stage we really got going; guys who got in really could not get away from the WI. I thought they showed a little bit of experience with the ball in getting end of overs and little bit smarter against us. I think we would have liked 200 but 180 was competitive,” the left-handed batsman said.

“Tonight the WI didn’t allow us to convert the 20s into 50s or 50s into 60s. We didn’t do great deal of wrong with the bat; little bit of credit also should go to them,” he said.

Next up, England face a must win game against title contenders South Africa here on Friday.

Speaking on the crucial tie and what plans he would like to implement, Morgan pointed out that dew might play a factor in the next match like it did against Windies.

“We look at all games as a must win game… certainly the next one. Probably a little bit rest for the bowlers tonight than was against New Zealand (warm up game)… here was a lot of dew in there and the ball got wet. Even at the toss I said that I would chase, it can play a great part in the SA game,” he said.

“Tonight (Wednesday) we were not able to grip the ball very well. The ball got wet quite a lot in the end. Against South Africa we will counter them with bat and try and execute our plans,” Morgan concluded.

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