Gayle worry for Gilly
They have been trying their best to play down the Chris Gale factor, but from the looks of it, Kings XI Punjab's team management has not been successful in that. Sanjjeev Karan Samyal reports. Match boxcricket Updated: May 17, 2011 01:38 IST
They have been trying their best to play down the Chris Gale factor, but from the looks of it, Kings XI Punjab's team management has not been successful in that. The Royal Challengers Bangalore were into their warm up drills as the home team walked into the HPCA Stadium for training. And it was clear what all eyes from Kings XI were looking for when all-rounder Ryan Harris muttered: "The big man's not here".
It was music to the Kings XI Punjab players' ears as it briefly raised hopes Gayle could give the game a miss. But their joy was shortlived as news filtered in that the left-handed opener was fit and raring to go, but was not feeling like having a hit.
Clearly, the scars that the Jamaican inflicted on Adam Gilchrist's men with a 49-ball 107 in their first-leg game are still fresh going into Tuesday's Indian Premier League clash.
The explosive batsman has been unstoppable since joining Vijay Mallya's team as an injury replacement and has been the biggest influence in their run of seven successive wins. Despite playing five games less, he is the leading run-getter of the tournament - 436 runs at phenomenal strike rate of 201.85 with two hundreds and one fifty.
Kings XI face a must-win situation and their challenge will be to work out a plan to stop the Jamaican from blowing them away. Thanks to having Gilchrist as their skipper, Kings XI though will not be completely clueless in their tactics. The key will be whether the hosts can execute them on the field.
Gilchrist should well know how such batsmen work - their line of thinking as well as their line of attack. After all, what Gayle is doing now, Gilchrist did all his international career.
"Ya, Gayle is doing well, isn't he?" said Gilchrist, mocking at the understatement. "We will have our plans but I am not going to discuss it in the open," he added.
"We have some plans for Gayle and the idea is for our bowlers to go in with the belief that the plans will work. After all he is human and can miss one. It will be important to maintain a strong body language," said bowling coach Jason Gillespie.
Royal Challengers sit pretty at the top of the table with 17 points from 12 games and are the favourites to top the 10-team league table. Kings XI have 12 off 12 and need the results in the remaining games to go their way to have any chance of edging out CSK, MI (both on 16 points) or KKR (14 points) in the race to the play offs.