New Delhi: SRH can breathe easy until Chris Gayle doesn't walk out to bat for KXIP. Though, he surprised one and sundry the other day by opting to rest against DD. KXIP were out for 143 but held their own in bowling to beat DD by 4 runs in the end. Had Gayle been in the XI, perhaps, KXIP could have got a better total. But in Hyderabad, a rejuvenated Gayle made his presence felt. And if he plays in the return leg, a caution for SRH becomes mandatory.
It was against the same side that Gayle blasted to his 6th T20 century in Mohali, targetting the likes of Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan. He picked his bowlers and launched his onslaught. While Rashid bowled fuller to Gayle, the batsmen clobbered him for 4 sixes on the trot. The highlight of Gayle's innings was the way he showed restraint and didn't lose his cool on good balls. He defended as well as rotated strike.
Chasing or setting a total, there isn't much difference in Gayle's approach. Twice he has chased and only once he batted to set a total. When CSK visited Chennai, he went after the spinners and waited for the bowlers to bowl within his range. And when they did, the ball disappeared in the stands. Only towards the later part of the innings did Gayle hole out.
The against KKR at Eden Gardens, Gayle went after Andre Russell as he sprayed the ball around and Gayle was in no mood to let go. Gayle and Rahul gave KXIP a rollicking start and made sure they were way ahead of the D/L score. Gayle has been brutal against the leggies in particular as they experiment and bowl to get him out. IN the process, they are generally fuller and allow Gayle to swing his arms. Piyush Chawla too experienced his wrath in the rain-curtailed tie.
Come Thursday, SRH could be in trouble facing Gayle. with Bhuvneshwar and Billy Stanlake unfit, SRH will be going in with youngsters Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi and Siddarth Kaul. Though, a lot of responsibility will rest on Sandeep's shoulders to swing the ball away from Gayle, his only weakness. In the past, Sandeep has tasted against Gayle by bowling him out.