'Most ridiculous cricket I've ever seen' - Chris Gayle panned for turning down easy single

Chris Gayle caused controversy by turning down an easy single against the Sydney Thunder. Photo / Getty
Chris Gayle caused controversy by turning down an easy single against the Sydney Thunder. Photo / Getty

The Melbourne Renegades have kept their Big Bash League finals hopes alive with a thrilling five-wicket win over the Sydney Thunder but it was Chris Gayle in the limelight yet again for all the wrong reasons.

A week after being condemned for his inappropriate interview with broadcaster Mel McLaughlin, the West Indian was left blushing after inexplicably failing take an easy single at Spotless Stadium on Monday night.

After smashing it to long on, Gayle turned back his batting partner Tom Cooper in an ordinary display which was slammed on social media and by the commentators.

Even Cooper was seemingly unimpressed, saying: "it wasn't a good bit of cricket" on the Channel 10 broadcast.

In commentary, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting was not amused.

"This is the most unbelievable, ridiculous cricket I've ever seen," he said.

"Sometimes in cricket and in life you get what you deserve, and he got what he deserved there.

"What sort of message does that send to the boys on the sideline?"

Mark Waugh was equally as perplexed.

"We can't work it out so you'd have to ask him why he didn't take the single."

To make matters worse, Gayle was dismissed by Clint McKay the next ball, throwing his wicket away after his flying start of 28 off 20 balls.

Despite Gayle copping a barrage of criticism over the last week, White described the Caribbean big-hitter and self-styled "world boss" as a good teammate and defended his decision not to run when an easy single looked on offer.

"He probably thought he hit it straight to him, that's why he didn't run," White said.

"He probably hasn't got the number of runs that he would have liked but he gets us off to a [good] start, we're 10-an-over off the first three overs and that's so underrated, the momentum shifts straight away.

"If you asked him as well, he'd be looking for that explosive 100 off 50 balls but what he does do is get the momentum rolling."

Thunder captain Hussey also said he understood Gayle's rationale and he was attempting to control the strike and backing his ability to hit big.

"I understood what he was trying to do, he was trying to take advantage of the power play and that's what he's there for," Hussey said.

"He generally does it extremely well so he obviously lined up that bowler and thought he could get him.

"Fortunately for us it went our way but on another day he could have hit the next ball for six."

After the Thunder posted 173-5, the Renegades snuck over the line after stellar innings from Dwayne Bravo (47 off 24) and Cameron White (61 off 46).

The win elevated the Renegades to six points, level with the Thunder with just one game remaining and sets up a thrilling final round of fixtures.

There were a few tense moments in the final overs after Bravo and White were both dismissed by Andrew Russell in the 18th over but Peter Nevill and Ben McDermott showed cool heads to guide their side over the line with four balls to spare.

Earlier the home side looked headed for victory after half centuries from Usman Khawaja and Shane Watson helped them post an imposing total.

Khawaja's golden summer continued when he fired a sublime 62 in a 42-ball knock that included nine fours and one six.

He smashed the Renegades bowlers to all corners of the park as his impressive purple patch continued.

Since November, he's scored four centuries and two half centuries in his seven innings in all forms of the game.

Watson, who also hit 62, was strong in the middle order and showed he still had plenty to offer following his test retirement.

The Thunder have several injury woes with Andre Russell nursing a sore collarbone after being hit by a Nathan Rimmington short ball during his dismissal in which he hit his wicket.

South African allrounder Jacques Kallis left the ground during the Renegades' run chase with a hamstring strain.

- AAP

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