Chris Gayle has got four whirlwind hundreds in the IPL this season. But it’s an eye-opener to find how he plays an ‘average over’. That is six balls. Let’s get down to the number-crunching game.
RCB’s Gayle has score 512 runs in those four innings facing 232 balls. In that, he has played 78 ‘dot’ balls, hit 40 fours and 46 sixes, played 154 scoring shots, scored 436 runs in boundaries and 76 runs in other ways. He has played 68 balls which were neither boundary balls, nor ‘dot’ balls.
Based on this information, we can conclude that he had scored at 13.24 runs per over during those century knocks.
And ‘on an average’ (collating the above stats), his six balls went like this: two ‘dot’ balls, two singles, one four and one six. That’s 12 runs. Those additional 1.24 runs are offset because of his sixes and additional singles. He had hit a six per five balls in those tons. So in five overs, he had hit six sixes.
His four IPL hundreds came against KKR and Kings XI (both in 2011), vs Delhi (2012) and vs Pune this year.
Without taking any credit away from Gayle, it must be said that the Jamaican has feasted on ordinary attacks due to his amazing skills. He faced 26 bowlers in those century knocks. But only two (Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar) seem to be world-class.
Here is list of bowlers from Gayle’s hundred knocks.
KKR: Irfan Pathan, Balaji, Unadkat, Shakib, Bhatia, Tiwary, Abdullah.
Kings XI: Praveen Kumar, Harris, McLaren, Ablish, Chawla, Nayar.
Delhi: Irfan, Umesh Yadav, Aaron, Russell, Negi, Venugopal Rao.
Pune: Bhuvnesh, I Pandey, Dinda, M Marsh, Murtaza, Finch and Wright.
Of these, seven are foreigners and 19 Indian bowlers (most of them don’t play in international T20s).
Though the runs scored by Gayle per over during his century knocks against the Indian bowlers (13.03) and foreigners (13.7) don’t differ much, he had hit one boundary per three balls against foreigners; and one boundary per 2.72 balls against Indians.
Gayle had faced 19 combined balls of Yadav and Bhuvnesh scoring 26 runs with two fours and two sixes with nine ‘dot’ balls. That comes to just 8.21 runs per over, way low than his overall 13.24.
Of these 26 bowlers, he had played ‘dot’ balls against 24 of them, excluding Ablish and Finch. But then, these two bowlers are a part of those six (others being Tiwary, Abdullah, Nayar and Rao) who didn’t bowl a minimum of six balls to Gayle.
It’s clear that Gayle manages his dot balls, nerves and singles remarkably well; plans his assaults; and executes his boundaries in cold-blooded fashion.
His cool exterior hides his basic instinct to attack. It’s quite clear that the relative quieter moments that he spends on the crease help him hit boundary shots at will.
So, the challenge for the opposition think-tank remains in forcing him reach to the ball with marked front-foot movement; bowling with wicket-taking, and not containing, intentions with quality bowlers (preferably swing or offspin); or unsettling him so that he can come out of his well-spread routine of dots, singles and boundary balls.
If Gayle continues to bat like this, even attempts of mental disintegration through verbal volleys, or other innovative means, can’t be ruled out.