The thirty-first match of the IPL 2020 tournament between the blockbuster teams, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, could all be about match-ups. Here, we take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the thirty-first game of IPL 2020 – RCB vs KXIP.
RCB vs KXIP: RCB vs Chris Gayle
After a lot of hype, Chris Gayle is finally set to feature in IPL 2020. It remains to be seen who he replaces and which opener is pushed down to No. 3 – Mayank Agarwal or KL Rahul. Whilst the excitement to see Gayle in Sharjah is understandable, RCB might get the better of the Universe Boss.
🗣 @henrygayle‘s special message for you fans 😍
— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) October 13, 2020
THE SUNDAR THREAT:
Chris Gayle has historically struggled against off-spinners in his cricket career, and the IPL is no exception. In eight out of 10 IPL seasons, his strike rate against off-spinners has been under 115, and above 135 just once.
Gayle has been smart enough to play them out and feast on other bowlers. Thus, his overall average (36.92) and balls-per-dismissal ratio (32.69) in the first 16 overs are respectable, however, the strike rate of around 113 is bad.
Gayle will be up against Washington Sundar who has been brilliant this season. Sundar’s economy – 4.91 – is the best for any bowler who has bowled more than eight overs. Bowling 55 balls against the southpaws, Sundar has been averaging 17 and has an economy of 3.71. Now, since the deck of Sharjah Cricket Stadium has got slow, Sundar is expected to become more dangerous.
Sundar has bowled 81.82 % of his balls on the good-length this season. And, even on the good-length, he has been consistent with his line: outside off-stump. Bowling 60.19% of his good-length balls in the outside off-stump line, the off-spinner has scalped four out of his five wickets and has an economy of 4.25.
Besides bowling tight-lines, Sundar has bowled at a quick speed. His average speed – on 129 recorded deliveries – is 96.97 kph this season. All in all, Sundar has been fantastic this season, boosted by how RCB have used him.
Since Gayle is susceptible to off-spinners and Sundar is in excellent form, and the fact that RCB have been using him in the powerplay this season when needed, the ex-RCB opener is not going to find it easy to score.
THE PACE THREAT:
As mentioned earlier, Gayle is smart enough to play out spinners and ‘feast’ on other bowlers. However, against the Red Army, Gayle is not going to find it easy because of their good pace attack as well.
Even though Gayle has not struggled against fast-bowlers as much as he has against off-spinners. However, he has not been very secure either and at this stage of his career, he might have a tough time against the quicks.
In seven out of 11 IPL seasons, his strike rate against fast-bowlers (excluding medium-pacers) has been under 115.
Again, Gayle is smart enough to not attack the fast-bowlers as a decent average of 37.67 in the first 16 overs suggests, however, a strike rate of 117 is bad.
RCB have two hit-the-deck-hard bowlers: Chris Morris and Navdeep Saini. Morris is capable of operating at a high pace and he has a good record against the southpaw in the past.
CHRIS GAYLE vs CHRIS MORRIS in T20s:
DOT-BALL PERCENTAGE: 65.28%
In IPL 2020 so far, Morris has found swing with the new ball in the air as well. So, a moving ball might also trouble Gayle. After two games, Morris, who has looked very good so far, would be more confident.
Saini is a true fast-bowler. On 165 recorded deliveries this season, Saini’s average speed is about 140 kph and over 70% of his balls have breached the 140-kph mark. Over 66% of Saini’s balls have been on – good-length, short-length or bouncers – in IPL 2020. Saini has been bowling with the new ball and in the middle overs in the last two games. So, he has more chances of bowling to Gayle.
While Saini has the skills, it is also about the execution of the plans. All of Saini’s balls this season have been from over the wickets which tightens up the angle for the southpaws, however, also adds the risk of bowling on the pads. Thus, Saini should avoid bowling on the pads and giving width to Gayle.
Another bowler who could trouble Gayle is Mohammed Siraj. Siraj has been very impressive with his bouncers in this edition. Bowling 6 bouncers, he has picked up a wicket and is yet to conceded a run. Bowling 15 short balls, Siraj has scalped two wickets. So, if Siraj executes his plans against Gayle, he can have his moment as well.
ALSO READ: RCB vs KXIP – KXIP need to attack RCB early
Now, Gayle has quite a few hurdles against RCB. He might have seen off a couple of threats, however, 3-4 bowlers who can trouble him won’t allow him to play out others. However, the short boundaries in Sharjah might help him, but if bowlers bowl decently, the Universe Boss won’t pose a challenge against Virat Kohli’s men.