NAGPUR – Chris Gayle has described fellow opener Andre Fletcher as a “dangerous” batsman capable of posting big scores after he plundered an unbeaten half-century to lead West Indies to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup on Sunday.
Fletcher filled the opening slot when Gayle was injured and scored a career-best 84 not out off 64 balls to seal a comfortable win over Sri Lanka, their second win after beating England in their opening fixture.
Gayle is backing Fletcher to continue his prolific form in the tournament.
“It was fantastic to see Fletcher. I have opened the batting with Fletcher many times and I know what sort of player he is,” said Gayle.
“He is very dangerous and he is capable of getting big scores, so hopefully he can build on this and carry on and don’t leave it for anybody and get a few more Man-Of-The-Match (awards).”
The right-handed Fletcher dominated a 39-run first-wicket stand with Johnson Charles and added 55 in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand with Andre Russell to help West Indies overhaul a paltry 123 set by Sri Lanka.
Gayle is encouraging Fletcher to play his natural aggressive game and to continue batting deep into the innings.
“You have to pick and choose your bowlers who you want to target at particular times and that works for him as well. Continue being aggressive in the first six overs and try and capitalise on that new ball as a batter,” Gayle advised.
“You just have to keep that aggression going . . . try and take it as deep as possible . . . still look to pick up the odd boundaries in between the middle overs as well and build on whatever start you get.”
Gayle took the Man-Of-The-Match award with a boundary-studded 100 not out off 48 balls as Windies beat England in their opening match in Mumbai.
“Hopefully, I can follow up with more innings like this,” said Gayle.
“But if it does not happen we have a lot of guys who are match winners themselves who can actually do the same thing and destroy bowling attacks around the world.”
The Windies arrived in Nagpur on Monday afternoon where they are preparing to face South Africa on Good Friday.
First ball is 7:30 p.m. (10 a.m. Eastern Caribbean time/9 a.m. Jamaica time). (Reuters)