Chris Gayle bats for the West Indies. Photo: Reuters

HARARE – West Indian opener Chris Gayle wants to leave Zimbabwe with a smile and a flourish when he plays in the final match of the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2018 against Afghanistan at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday.

Both teams have already qualified for next year's tournament after topping the Super Sixes log.

Gayle, who played his first Test against Zimbabwe, back in 2000 has fond memories of the country, making his first Test century in Zimbabwe, a typically flowing 175 in Bulawayo.

Now, having been part of the Windies’ successful campaign in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, which has them in the final against Afghanistan and sealing a spot in the Cricket World Cup 2019, Gayle is keen on one last celebration in the country.

The Qualifier final in Harare on Sunday would be his last match in Zimbabwe, said the big-hitting left-hander. 

And he was looking forward to marking the occasion with not only a win in the final, but some dancing in the grounds, with “one of the best fan bases”.

“It has been a great tournament, the support here in Zimbabwe is always fantastic,” said Gayle. “It has been quite a while since I have been here, the people have been fantastic. I have a lot of great memories here in Zimbabwe, my first Test hundred was here.

“To actually come back here and relive those moments has been fantastic. This will be my last tour of Zimbabwe, and people here are great.”

Gayle has 201 runs from six matches in the Qualifier, including a top score of 123. 

"It will be nice to actually finish playing in Harare,” he said. “I hope it will be a full house.

“The way they rock to the tunes in the stands and they cheer, I absolutely love it! One of the best fan zones or fan bases that I have played in front of. I mean Zimbabwe, the South Africa dance, and they love the beats. I have got to take back the music for sure.

“Don’t worry I can dance, I will dance with them, I’ll interact with the crowd on Sunday as well. I’ll have some fun for sure!” 

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