Now this, my friends, is how you end a form slump. West Indian master blaster Chris Gayle has roared back into form in sensational style, clubbing the first ever double century in Men’s Cricket World Cup history, absolutely punishing the Zimbabwean bowling attack with a record breaking innings of 215 off just 147 deliveries.

But Gayle’s innings at Manuka Oval in Canberra could well have been over after just one ball, with an extremely contentious LBW decision going the way of the batsman. A rising delivery from paceman Tinashe Panyangara caught Gayle on the back pad. To the naked eye, the ball appeared likely to have cannoned into the stumps, but a DRS appeal by the Zimbabweans upheld the umpire’s original call of not out, albeit by the barest of margins.

Gayle took full advantage of the early reprieve, smashing the ball to all ends of the park.

By the time he was dismissed with the final ball of the innings, he had compiled a knock that included 16 sixes and 10 fours, helping the West Indies to an eye-watering innings total of 2/372.

Not only did Gayle become the first man to score a double century in World Cup competition, he broke several other records along the way. He became the fourth overall, and first non-Indian player, to score a double century in the 50 over format, following Rohit Sharma (who reached the mark twice), Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar.

His score easily eclipses the previous high mark for a World Cup game, besting South African Gary Kirsten‘s previous mark of 188 not out, set against the UAE during the 1996 tournament. It also beats the highest score by a West Indian player in a World Cup game, surpassing Sir Viv Richards score of 181 made against Sri Lanka in 1987.

The astonishing 16 sixes he belted equals the record for the most times the boundary has been cleared in a single ODI innings, tying with both Rohit Sharma of India who clubbed that many in 2013, and AB de Villiers of South Africa who got there earlier this year.

Gayle, along with Marlon Samuels, also obliterated the record for highest partnership ever recorded in both World Cup cricket, and ODI competition in general. Together the pair combined for the full 372 runs of the West Indian innings. The previous record stood for 16 years, set back in 1999 when Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid put on 331 runs against New Zealand. The high mark for World Cup cricket stood at 318 runs between Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, set against Sri Lanka during the 1999 tournament.

The innings now stands as the third highest score in a fifty over game, behind Rohit Sharma‘s mind-boggling innings of 264, and Virender Sehwag‘s 219.

But where Gayle gets the better of those two is in speed. At 138 balls, Gayle now holds the record for fastest ever ODI double century. Made even more remarkable by the fact that his first hundred came off a fairly pedestrian 105 balls, meaning his second hundred runs were scored in a mere 33.

This, it should be noted, isn’t actually the first double century in overall Cricket World Cup competition. Australia’s Belinda Clark smashed a monstrous innings of 229 not out against Denmark during the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup. ‘Straya! Cop that!

The Zimbabwean chase is currently underway in a rain-affected innings, with them chasing a revised total of 362 off a maximum of 48 overs. Good luck with that, lads.

Photo: Mark Kolbe via Getty Images.

via Fox Sports.