Chris Gayle’s non-selection in the first few games of the 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League seemed bizarre at best. The West Indian remains one of the biggest overseas players the league has seen, but with Punjab’s opening duo of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul clicking big-time, Gayle had no room to step in. His first chance came way later into the tournament against Bangalore and he still wasn’t chosen to open the batting.
Gayle, though, managed to make an immediate impact in the game with a quickfire half-century, playing a controlled, yet aggressive innings. Since then, he has become a key part of the middle-order that already has a superstar in Nicholas Pooran.
Vs Bangalore – 53(45)
Vs Delhi – 29(13)
Vs Kolkata – 51 (29)
Vs Rajasthan – 99 (63)
Major skill on display: Thriving from unfamiliar position and consistency
Gayle has thrived on consistency and is a T20 batting genius like no other. Since 2019, he has crossed double-digit scores in 15 of his 16 matches, an indication of his incredible consistency in the league. This season, each time he has batted, Gayle has made a valuable contribution to the team, crossing double-digit scores each time. That he has done so in sync with the team requirement of batting in the middle-order makes his feat even more commendable.
Middle overs batting
While Gayle was slow off the blocks a lot of times previously, this time around with the game set up for him by a strong opening pair, he had to spend less time settling down and that’s exactly what Gayle did. Off the first 10 balls that he has faced this season, Gayle has scored at 8.34 runs per over, a significant jump from the 6.38 and 7.95 he scored at in 2018 and 2019. In the middle overs since the 2018 season, Gayle scores at 8.89 runs per over, which is among the top 10 in the league.
Gayle hits a six every ninth ball on an average in the league since 2018, a number that has remained constant in 2020 too. Among batsmen to hit 50 sixes in the league since 2018, Gayle’s balls/six ratio is the third-best after two ferocious death overs hitters in Andre Russell and Hardik Pandya.
Since Gayle came into the side, Punjab have won five of their six matches. Before that, they had lost six of the seven matches they played. Even with superstars aplenty in the batting line-up, the Universe Boss has made a massive difference to the team with his ability to win games in the middle overs.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Punjab