IPL 2013: Chris Gayle’s numbers boggle the mind

Chris Gayle has faced a total of 311 deliveries this season, 134 of which were dot balls. Yet, Chris Gayle has a stupendous strike-rate of 162.37, as he has plundered 505 runs from the other 177 balls he has faced © IANS

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Chris Gayle is undoubtedly the greatest batsman in the short history of T20 cricket. The big-hitting West Indian has mastered the art of pacing the innings in a format that tests the best in business. Since the 2011 Indian Premier League (IPL), the southpaw has unleashed his fury on bowlers. Despite his aggression, there is an air of dependability when he bats.

According to statistician Mohandas Menon, Gayle has faced a total of 134 dot balls so far this season — which is only second to Michael Hussey’s tally. Considering the fact that they lead the run-charts, this detail isn’t surprising. However, bring Gayle’s strike-rate into the picture and you would be astonished. Despite facing 134 dot balls, he has maintained a mind-boggling strike-rate of 162.37.

For batsmen with over 300 runs in IPL 2013, Gayle has the second highest strike-rate — marginally behind Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 165.77. Gayle has faced a total of 311 deliveries this season and has bludgeoned his 505 runs in 177 of them. That is absolutely astounding and one can only imagine the carnage keeping that in perspective. He doesn’t believe in taking too many singles and targets the boundaries. Off the 505 runs he has scored this season, 402 have come in fours and sixes.

The paucity of overs in T20 demands that the batsmen maintain a good run-rate and keep the momentum going. A couple quiet overs can build the pressure and result in a few dismissals. It is thus imperative to keep the scoreboard ticking, hit boundaries at regular intervals and build a solid platform for assault in slog overs.

Gayle has redefined “anchoring” a T20 innings. A player of his calibre can afford a few sighters as he can shift gears like no other batsman. He starts off with caution and then tees off with destructive intent. There are times when his strike-rate is below 100. Then, in a matter of a few overs, he shifts into his sensational gear.

The perfect example of his measured approach came during Bangalore’s season opener against Mumbai Indians. Gayle guided a stuttering Bangalore innings calmly and took the attack in the slog overs. At the half-way stage, he had scored 23 off 22 balls. He farmed the strike in the last ten overs and finished unbeaten on 92 off 58 balls. Gayle’s monumental innings of 175 was a different innings compared to his other efforts; he attacked from the word go.

While Gayle is in the middle, Bangalore feels a sense of assurance and calm, no matter what the asking rate.  Bangalore have five more games in the league phase and look good to qualify for the next round.

Should helmets be ever made compulsory for spectators in cricket anywhere in the world, the biggest reason for that would be the frequency of missiles fired in the stands by Christopher Henry Gayle.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/nishad_44)