New Delhi: The eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League is into its third week now and if there is one name that has wreaked havoc in the 22 yards of space in these 17 days of the tournament then it is surely Chris Gayle. The Windies veteran who went unsold twice at the mega-auction in January and was completely written off by analysts too, fired three consecutive fifty-plus scores including a hundred in his three games to silence his sceptics. Another player that created mayhem last week was AB de Villiers, who set up a carnage of an innings to decimate a toothless Delhi Daredevils bowling attack. “Such was their genius on Saturday” that Delhi skipper Gautam Gambhir reckons that the two can actually decode the implications of GST.
“On current form Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers can even help us decoding GST and its implications. Or, convince the North Korean president from removing that button from that desk. Such was their genius on Saturday that it seemed they were the ones setting fields, then telling bowlers what and where to bowl and finally hit the ball as if ordering a drink. In DD’s case my inference was that on Saturday we lost the game to De Villiers and not RCB,” Gambhir wrote in his column for Times of India.
“While lesser mortals like me stopstart as if stuck in a morning rush-hour, geniuses create their own lane to zip away. A film critic friend of mine once told me that how Amitabh Bachchan would ‘own’ a scene especially when he was shooting with Dilip Kumar in Shaktiand Sanjeev Kumar in Trishul. Geniuses like De Villiers, Ronaldo, Woods and Federer don’t wait for a stage. Their opponents will grudgingly admit that it is the other way round,” he added.
De Villiers on late Saturday evening massacred a struggling Daredevils side to fire 10 boundaries and five sixes en route to his scintillating innings of 90 runs off 39 deliveries. His special innings powered RCB to a thumping six-wicket victory against Delhi Daredevils at M Chinnaswamy stadium.
“From the outside it may seem mad hitting, but if you look closely, you can spot a method too. When he first came in De Villiers attacked Shahbaz Nadeem with slog-sweeps. To fast bowlers, he’d jump outside the off stump, form a strong base and hit it anywhere between extra-cover to fine leg. All this with a head so still that you can place a cup of tea on it and go to a toilet. Such was the De Villiers magic that he paled off outstanding knocks by Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer,” Gambhir explained.
Gambhir was also full of praise for young Risabh Pant who scored 85 off 48 to rescue Daredevils after their horrific powerplay score. “Rishabh is a special talent. He not only has the ability to hit good balls but is a marketer’s delight too. The six that he hit in the 18th over off Mohammed Siraj’s slower ball on a sluggish wicket can help the IPL broadcaster justify their exorbitant rights fees! He and Sanju Samson seem to me the first super stars of India’s IPL generation. But like any expensive porcelain come with handle-with-extremecare tag.”
Delhi Daredevils have taken off to a worst of start bagging just a single win in five matches. Neither have their batting been at par, not have their bowling, who have in fact recorded the worst economy rate in the powerplays. Even the big names – Glenn Maxwell and Chris Morris haven’t clicked yet nor has the skipper shown his own prowess with the willow. Nevertheless, Gambhir seems optimistic.
“Personally and also as a team we are struggling. But I am optimistic. There is talent in our dressing room. I was glad to see Chris Morris turning up the heat, the snarl was back. Maxwell is due for a big one, Shreyas is a big tick for us. We are in Delhi now and hopefully the familiar environs will work.
Individually, I’d love to see a 2014-like turn around when I started with three ducks and later came back to win the IPL with some reasonable personal performances too. These are tough times alright but then this is what we play the sport for. For all of us the DD men, may be there is a story waiting to unfold which we can later narrate to our grand children.”
Delhi will next face a formidable Kings XI Punjab at home on Monday and would expect their homecoming to be a boost in their faltering start to IPL 2018. However, their big fear would be the ruthless Gayle Storm. “We will be facing another genius today. Gayle is on a roll and so are KXIP,” Gambhir concluded.