Numerous 13,000 flocking to Emirates Riverside will have been eagerly anticipating witnessing Stokes' renewing T20 hostilities with the man who clubbed him for four huge sixes to win the final in Kolkata last April but he has instead been handed a controversial, but well-earned, breather.
The 29-year-old also held a catch to dimiss Joe Root as the home team could only make 155 in reply to the visitors' 9-176 at a chilly and rainswept Riverside.
"This was probably the more challenging of our recent wins", said West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite speaking to Sky Sports "Conditions were soft and slippery, the umpires were close to calling it off actually".
"I can see both sides of it, of course guys want to see him play", he said.
"We kind of gave it an ultimatum. we got the outfield roped and we were in agreement that if it continued to be unsafe or if anything dramatic or drastic happened we'd call it quits".
A sell-out crowd were rewarded for braving a cold and rainswept night in Chester-le-Street by the sight of Gayle smashing three fours and four sixes in just 21 balls.More news: Ozil out of Chelsea v Arsenal, Sanchez and Hazard on bench
The Trinidadian, however, was out soon afterwards when he drove Plunkett straight to England Test skipper Root at mid-off.
England needed 26 off the last over and Brathwaite, fittingly, ended the match when he bowled Liam Plunkett.
England recently won a three-match Test series 2-1, after West Indies, belying their reputation as a weak outfit in cricket's longest format, upset the odds to win the second Test at Headingley. "Losing the game was losing three wickets in that period", said Morgan.
Rovman Powell tried to fix some of the damage with 28 down the order before he was out shortly before rain briefly halted play with West Indies 165 for eight off 18.5 overs.
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That match saw fellow left-hander Lewis manage the impressive feat of out-hitting Gayle on his way to a stunning and unbeaten 125.