Bangalore Royal Challengers captain Daniel Vettori admits he has never seen Chris Gayle play as well has been doing in this year’s IPL
The West Indian has set the tournament alight after being called up as an injury replacement for Dirk Nannes, clobbering 511 runs in nine innings at a strike rate of 187.17.
The left-hander was again at the forefront of a Bangalore victory on Sunday when his 75 off just 50 helped the Royal Challengers to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Chennai.
“I have never seen him play this well. It has been amazing the way he played since he turned up for us. It is not slogging but good cricket shots, utilizing his strength,” Vettori said of the opening batsman after the match.
Gayle’s brilliance drew plaudits from the opposition too, with Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming praising his impact.
“I haven’t seen a player making such an impact in a season. He’s been phenomenal. It’s by luck that he was available to RCB through the injury to Nannes. If you get Chris Gayle out, you’ve a chance (to win against RCB),” said Fleming.
While Gayle is a permanent fixture at the top of the order, the position of his opening partner has been less settled, with Bangalore struggling to fill the gap left following Tillakaratne Dilshan’s departure.
On Sunday South African AB de Villiers was promoted up the order to form Bangalore’s fourth different opening combination in four games.
“It is not about the surprise factor,” Vettori said of de Villiers’ promotion.
“We are searching for that right combination since Tillakaratne Dilshan left. Today we wanted to give AB (de Villiers) a decent bat because Chris and Virat (Kohli) have batted so well up the order. It didn’t work today but I know how good a player AB is. So, he could be an option in the next game as well.
“Luke Pomersbach is another option and we have a couple of other ones up our sleeve as well. So we will see how the wicket is and who the opponents are in the next game and take a call on that,” added Vettori.