The ninth match of the IPL 2020 tournament between the blockbuster teams, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, could all be about match-ups. We take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the ninth game of IPL 2020 – RR vs KXIP.
RR vs KXIP Game Plan – Is it now the optimal time to unleash Gayle?
The venue is Sharjah. The square boundaries are 70 metres and 60 metres. The straight boundaries as well lie in the same range. The opposition has no off-spin option and two leg-spinners. Chris Gayle is waiting in your team’s ranks. What better opportunity will be found to make use of the most prolific run-getter in T20 history?
At the toss in KXIP’s match against RCB, their captain KL Rahul had said that they were looking for the right time to bring in Chris Gayle. Considering he is now 41 years old, perhaps the Punjab management didn’t want to start off with Gayle against two bowling attacks with several pacy bowlers; DC had Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, while RCB played Navdeep Saini and Umesh Yadav (who, all jokes aside, still regularly hits the 140 kmph mark).
However, taking into account the dimensions of the venue, and the fact that there is only one pacy bowler in the opposition – Jofra Archer – this may be the “right time” the Punjab management had been waiting for.
Since the start of IPL 2018, Chris Gayle is 14th in the run-scorers list. Of the thirteen players ahead of him in this list, only three possess a better strike-rate. Even at the age of 38-40, he has managed an average of 41 to go with a strike-rate of 150. For any normal player, these numbers would be enviable; that it has come from an aging T20 great is nothing short of amazing.
In the same time span, he has been found out by the short ball. Right-arm fast bowlers have dismissed him 7 times, while right-arm fast-medium bowlers have had the better of him on 4 occasions. Off-spin as well has troubled the Universe Boss, as the stock ball turns away from him. Meanwhile, his overall record has been good because of the way he has demolished wrist-spin and medium pacers.
As Rajasthan Royals have no established finger-spinner in their squad to trouble Chris Gayle, and in a venue as small as Sharjah where even mishits off fast bowlers will fly over the boundaries, the two threats are virtually negated. That’s not to say someone like a Jofra Archer won’t trouble him at all, but if Gayle manages to see off Jofra’s first spell or regularly give the strike over to KL Rahul, he can then capitalize on the barrage of spin in the middle overs. If he plays, Sharjah should prepare itself for a Gaylestorm tonight!
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