More history was made in the Cricket World Cup in Canberra today, with the first ever double century by a batsman in the competition, as West Indies' Chris Gayle hammered 215 runs to help his countrymen to a convincing 73 run victory (under the Duckworth-Lewis method) over Zimbabwe. Their success keeps them in contact with the undefeated Indians at the top of Pool B.

The laconic Caribbean star was at his destructive best in scoring his runs off just 147 balls, ably demonstrating why he is one of the most feared batsmen in world cricket, especially in the limited overs format of the game.

Fielders and spectators alike were sent scurrying for cover as the left-hander smashed 16 sixes and 10 fours during a batting masterclass, although he was slightly fortunate to survive an lbw decision on his fist ball, which went to a review. His first century was steady by his own standards, coming off 105 balls. After that he accelerated in true Gayle fashion, to hammer another century in just 33 deliveries. It allowed his side to set an intimidating total of 372-2 which was never likely to be within the scope of their opponents' reach.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the only blemish on the Windies' batting card was the duck for opener Dwayne Smith. He must have looked on in envy as Gayle and Marlon Samuels then proceeded to take the bowling apart and put on a gigantic partnership of 372 for the second wicket (another ODI record), before Gayle was dismissed from the last ball of the innings.

Samuels did his fair share of the scoring, but could not match Gayle's effort, although he would be extremely pleased with his 133 not out.

Gayle's mammoth score surpassed the previous highest mark in the World Cup by Gary Kirsten for South Africa against the UAE in 1996. The West Indies seemed to particularly enjoy batting against Tinashe Panyangara, as after taking the only wicket to fall from his second ball, he was then hit for 82 runs off just 9 overs of bowling.

Zimbabwe were given a revised target after rain had interrupted play, requiring them to chase 363 off 48 overs, which rather predictably they fell some way short of. However, given the circumstances, their 289 all out was a fine effort to pull the match back and would have won many ODI matches in the past. Sean Williams scored 76 and Craig Ervine 52 in their ultimately fruitless run chase.

The West Indies bowling was adequate given the score they had to defend, with Jerome Taylor taking 3-38 and Jason Holder 3-48. Gayle had a marvellous all-round game, as he took a catch and two wickets for good measure while out in the field.