Gayle blows through Ireland attack

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Chris Gayle led his side to a crushing 9-wicket win over Ireland in their World Twenty20 warm-up match at the Oval with a blistering innings of 88 not out.

Updated: June 03, 2009 17:38 IST
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West Indies captain Chris Gayle led his side to a crushing nine-wicket win over Ireland in their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up match at the Oval on Tuesday with a blistering innings of 88 not out.

West Indies, set 131 to win, finished on 134 for one with four overs to spare after left-handed opener Gayle's whirlwind knock of 88 not out saw him face just 55 balls with seven sixes, most of them superb straight hits, and six fours in his innings.

"It's good to get a win," Gayle, who saw his side well beaten by England in both a Test and one-day series earlier in the English season, told reporters.

"You might say it was against a weak side but if they had beaten us it would have been a different story.

"This is a fresh start," added Gayle, whose side face hosts England in a warm-up match at Lord's on Wednesday.

"It was also good to get a feel of conditions in the middle. This is where we play our first match (of the tournament proper against Australia at the Oval on Saturday)."

While other batsmen have invented all manner of strokes that they more or less solely reserve for Twenty20, Gayle prefers his tried and trusted methods.

"I try to stick to my strength which is power," he said.

Ramnaresh Sarwan was 25 not out after helping Gayle add an unbroken 79 off 52 balls for the second wicket.

Gayle and fellow opener Andre Fletcher scored 42 runs in the initial six powerplay overs.

The duo put on 55 in 45 balls but Ireland made a breakthrough when off-spinner Kyle McCallan succeeded where pace had failed and had Fletcher taken in the covers by Boyd Rankin for a 19 featuring four fours.

Gayle though was unconcerned, going down the pitch to loft McCallan for a huge straight six into the Pavilion.

Ireland, defending a modest target, had no one capable of containing Gayle on a good pitch - and there was no shame in that given he has made some of the world's best bowlers look rather ordinary during the course of his career.

"It's not easy defending 130 especially when a player like him (Gayle) gets going," said Ireland captain William Porterfield, who on Monday led his side to an eliminator over warm-up win over fellow minnows the Netherlands at Lord's.

"But this shows what we are going to be up against."

Porterfield, who plays for English county side Gloucestershire, said a lack of runs was Ireland's greatest problem at the moment. "It's not about big hitting but playing proper cricket shots.

"We've got to be looking for a total of 160. We've shown we can be competitive in the field," added Porterfield, whose side are set to play a warm-up match against South Africa at the Southgate ground in north London on Thursday.

Ireland made 130 for seven after Porterfield won the toss.

Several batsmen made starts but Ireland were kept in check by tight bowling with left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn taking two for 24 and off-spinner Gayle one for 25.

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