Part Two: How Do You Get Chris Gayle Out?
In the first part of this analysis, we looked at Gayle’s career record, his past three seasons in the Indian Premier League and his struggles against Right-Arm Fast bowlers.
Part two will be devoted to his performances against the three potential teams currently left in the T20 World Cup, as well as his record against Right-Arm Offspin.
First, it is important to look again at Gayle’s T20 career benchmarks:
He’s played more T20 than just about any other cricketer on the planet. There are slight improvements in his average and strike rate when he plays domestic rather than international T20s, but the differences aren’t significant. When Gayle is batting, on average, he scores nine runs every over. He scores a four or a six every five balls (boundary ratio of 0.22).
We’ll start by looking at the three other semi-finalists, starting with those that Gayle might meet in the final, if the West Indies beat India.
Gayle Vs New Zealand’s Bowlers in the IPL (2013-15):
Decent figures, especially that bottom spell in Bangalore from McClenaghan. It makes sense to play both of these players in the final if the ball is swinging, alongside the two (maybe three) spinners who destroyed India in the opening match of the Super Ten stage. The biggest factor here though, once again, is the small sample. Not many of the current Black Caps’ squad have much IPL experience. However, the sample isn’t as small as it is for the other potential final opponents, England.
Gayle Vs England’s Bowlers in the IPL (2103-15):
England don’t have any experience of bowling to Gayle in the IPL, unless they draft in Ravi Bopara quickly, apart from in the their first match of this current tournament. Here’s how they got on:
Maybe ask for special permission from the ICC to bowl Chris Jordan from both ends for the opening four overs? Just don’t bowl Moeen in the powerplay.
Gayle Vs India’s Bowlers in the IPL (2013-15):
There isn’t another bowling unit in the tournament that matches up as well as the Indian attack. They obviously have vast experience of the conditions. The have vast experience in preparing plans across the other IPL franchises trying to prevent Gayle from being a match-winner. They know the surfaces and grounds they will be playing on like the back of their hands. Harbhajan Singh has bowled against Gayle twice in Mumbai, bowling 12 balls for 12 runs, but crucially, getting Gayle out both times. The New Zealand thing to do in this situation would be to play The Turbanator instead of the injured Yuvraj. The Right-Arm Offspin bowler can bowl in tandem with Ashwin if needs be; or alongside the other bowlers such as Bumrah, Nehra and Pandya (if he plays). He can also bat a bit. Unfortunately, India will probably go with an extra batsman (Rahane), and ruin the opportunity for the perfect bowling attack to Gayle.
Out of the above fifteen spells, those bowlers dismissed him five times.
But those who did struggle, such as Raina and Jadeja, might need to be held back until Gayle is dismissed. If he isn’t out, after the opening powerplay, it will probably best to pack up tools and hand the match to the West Indies!
Gayle Vs Right-Arm Offspin:
Gayle himself said he is aware of his weaknesses. From all the data I collected, his biggest weakness is against Right-Arm Offspin. Not all the time, as you can see when he faced Raina, Pathan, Maxwell, Chawla or in the first match of this current T20 World Cup against Moeen Ali. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the above bowling performances include a significantly higher rate or dot balls, as well as reduced numbers of fours or sixes per over. Is Gayle’s awareness of this struggle at the forefront of his mind, and thus helping him decide to block the balls, just look for singles, and wait for the medium-fast bowlers to give him a chance to hit through the ‘V’?
Impossible to know, and if you look, Gayle has improved in 2015 against this type of bowling, so maybe he’s working on his perceived weaknesses, finding ways to score at a quicker rate? Either way, getting out eight times, having a reduced strike rate compared to career average, as well as a higher rate of dot balls and lower rate of boundaries, means you must have a strong Right-Arm offspinner in your line up whenever you play against The Gayle Force, or he’ll just end up celebrating after scoring at close to two runs a ball.