IPL 2019: How to contain Chris Gayle - Numbers drop massive hint ahead of KXIP season opener
Kings XI Punjab picked up Chris Gayle in the final round of auctions last year and it was an inspired selection. The Jamaican rocked up as the opener in 11 innings and smashed 368 runs at an average of 40.88. This effort included one century and 3 half-centuries.
He is a man in form this season, he was at his belligerent best against England in the recently-concluded ODI series. In 4 matches, he smashed 424 runs at an average of 106 and with a strike rate of 134. He will open the innings with KL Rahul in what can be dubbed as one of the most destructive opening pair in IPL.
However, there is a glimmer of hope for opponents, an Achilles heel, so to speak. His record against off-spin has not been the greatest. Ajinkya Rahane could throw the ball to Krishnappa Gowtham in the powerplay to thwart the Gayle threat - and he has numbers to back this decision. In his IPL career so far, the ‘Universe Boss’ has been contained by conventional off-spin - 15 dismissals for 534 runs, his strike rate shrinks to 114.10.
If Gayle is contained, oppositions can breathe a massive sigh of relief and attacking him with accurate off-spin up front could be one the primary tools employed by captains.