Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli has brushed off concerns over Chris Gayle’s form and was confident the opener can come up with the runs when the team needs it.
Gayle has scored 1 and 0 in the side’s first two IPL 2016 matches. He has not scored in double-figures since his 47-ball century against England in the World T20 last month. Overall, Gayle has made 3200 runs in 84 IPL matches, of which 2737 runs have come for Royal Challengers. The batsman also has five centuries for the franchise, including a 66-ball 175* against Pune Warriors in IPL 2013, which is the highest individual score in T20 cricket.
“I am sure he will come good at some stage of the tournament,” Kohli said, after Royal Challengers’ seven-wicket loss to Delhi Daredevils in Bangalore on Sunday. “Probably, he may get a hundred for us when it’s required the most. I am not too worried about Gayle, because the other guys are stepping up nicely. Cricket is all about grabbing the opportunity, if some others fail.
“Chris takes lot of pride playing for RCB. He has been a standout player for us. I think people just expect a lot out of him every T20 match he plays because he is good at it and has scored 17 centuries, which is not a joke. So, expectations are high and Gayle wants to live up to them.”
Despite Gayle’s low scores, Royal Challengers have racked up totals of 227 and 191, against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Daredevils, building on fifties from AB de Villiers and Kohli in each game. With Shane Watson also in the line-up, Kohli believed any of the top four batsmen could turn the match for Royal Challengers.
“Well we got 230 in the first match and then almost 200 in this match, without Gayle firing. Guess what would happen when he fires!” Kohli said. “Four guys – Gayle, AB de Villiers, myself and Shane Watson – of international calibre playing in one team, it always helps. You can rely on those four to turn the game for you.”