Rookie West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer was understandably thrilled after notching his maiden one-day International hundred but said it was batting with superstar Chris Gayle that had fulfilled one of his childhood dreams.
The 21-year-old Hetmyer top-scored with 127, while fellow left-hander Gayle pummeled 123 as West Indies notched their fourth highest ODI score of 357 for four, en route to beating minnows United Arab Emirates by 60 runs in their opening match of the ICC World Cup qualifiers Tuesday.
Together, the pair added 103 for the second wicket, a partnership Hetmyer said he had dreamed off as a young boy growing up in Guyana.
"It was a fantastic feeling for me. I grew up from the tender age of probably five and even younger watching Chris on television and thinking of the day when I could be accompanying him at the crease," he said afterwards.
On 31 when Gayle perished in the 29th over, Hetmyer then accelerated his scoring, adding 77 for the third wicket with Marlon Samuels (15) and a further 65 for the fourth wicket with Shai Hope (35), before eventually falling in the 48th over.
The ODI was only Hetmyer's third in a fledgling career, following his debut in the 50-over format on the ill-fated tour of New Zealand last December.