Champions Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle and will be looking to make it “seventh heaven” when they turn out for the West Indies in the marquee ICC Men’s T20 World Cup this month.
The legendary duo has played all six tournaments since the inception in 2007 in South Africa and will want to have maximum impact as they enter the seventh edition in United Arab Emirates and Oman starting next Sunday.
The pair later played in 2009 in England, 2010 at home in the Caribbean, 2012 in Sri Lanka, 2014 in Bangladesh and the last edition in 2016 in India. Gayle is the undisputed king of T20 cricket and the “Universe Boss” has dominated this format everywhere he has set foot on the planet. Bravo is not far behind with his expert bowling and is a sharp thinker and tactician.
Back in 2012, Gayle adopted The “Gangnam style” as the unofficial theme song for the team and fans joined the global street party. For Bravo it was an extra-special moment in time as the epic performance came on the night of his birthday. He had the pleasure of taking the catch to seal the sensational result.
“It was my 29th birthday and was a very special moment. It was the first time we won the T20 World Cup and as players we wanted to prove to the world, we were the best, as individuals and as a team,” Bravo said.
“To do it on my birthday was special and something I could never forget. I still have that ball at home... was a dream come true. A lot of people didn’t give us a chance and picked four teams and didn’t have West Indies among their top four. To win on that night against Sri Lanka in their home turf was a great end to the tournament and we proved ourselves as a team.”
Bravo and Gayle have also had some other great moments in T20 World Cups. None better than at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2016 when West Indies celebrated that famous victory over England with Bravo leading the merriment with his song “Champion”.
Gayle is the only man to hit two centuries in the T20 World Cup. In his very first outing against South Africa back in September 2007, he set ablaze the Wanderers in Johannesburg with a sizzling 117 off just 57 balls. It was just the kind of start that world cricket needed and set the trend for more of his power-packing pyrotechnic displays.
With a sense of occasion, and with estimated global viewing audience of over 500 million eyes fixed to the Wankhede Stadium, Gayle set the tone for the tournament. It was magical and memorable as he muscled 11 mammoth sixes and lit up the Mumbai night sky to score 100 not out off just 48 balls.
“I remember I had a launch event in Mumbai and had my team-mates and friends. We had a good start to the tournament, and we formed a great unit. Chris made a hundred and started the dance and everyone was inspired and motivated,” Bravo recalled.
“It became (our) anthem, and we did the dance and kept on winning. When we won the final the song was the most played. It was a special moment for West Indian people around the world. Everywhere we went there was celebrations. We want to do it again this time around,” Bravo concluded.