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Carrying the confidence

Upbeat Delhi Daredevils face the tough test of last year’s finalist Royal Challengers. Subhash Rajta reports. Today's matches | Face-off

india Updated: Apr 07, 2012 01:45 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times

You can partly blame Chris Gayle for the Kingfisher mess.

Not sending him back into the auction pool and preventing others from snatching him must have cost Royal Challengers Bangalore a bomb. Still, given what he's capable of, no amount appears too big for him, something even the Kingfisher employees might grudgingly concede.

On Friday, as he lumbered across the Chinnaswamy Stadium swinging bats like toys in his big hands, a couple of young RCB fans started recalling his exploits from the last season when he butchered the bowlers.

High hopes
The expectations are high this time too. "He's proved himself to be probably the best T20 batsman in the world. I know he loves playing for Bangalore and loves the ground out here. He set himself some pretty high standards last year, but we're expecting much the same this year," said RCB skipper Daniel Vettori.

And from how he has looked in the nets, there's good reason for bowlers to be worried. On Friday, on the eve of their opener against the Delhi Daredevils, Gayle looked fluent with his "stand and deliver" strokes.

What makes him such a dangerous player in this format is, besides skill and brute strength, his sheer experience across all formats. And he has been the much sought after freelancer.

The Jamaican plays in the Australian Big Bash and the Bangladesh Premier League and has been signed up by Somerset for England's T20 tournament.

So, the conditions and bowling attacks matter little to him. The man, however, plays down the sky high expectations. "The last year is history and I don't know what the future holds," he had said philosophically a few days back.

The only concern for him is a groin niggle. Vettori said they should be in a better position to take the call after nets, but the Jamaican didn't look in any discomfort while batting and, in all probability, should play. Zaheer Khan and Dirk Nannes too are working their way back to full fitness.

Daredevils would be high on confidence after their win in the rain-hit opener against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens. But if Gayle blows in full force, they will have to scamper for cover.


First Published: Apr 06, 2012 23:56 IST