New Delhi: Chris Gayle, who smashed 128 not out in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 21-run victory against Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday, said the only thing on his mind was to stay longer at the wicket.
"Maiden over is okay, as long as I am there till the end,” Gayle said adding, “If I stay longer, it helps to get the runs for the team." The 32-year-old Jamaican, who smoked 13 sixes in his 62-ball knock, said the secret behind hitting sixes is to keep your body still. "The secret behind those sixes was good balance, and to have a pitch where the ball comes up to the bat helps," Gayle said.
Gayle said he wants to continue in the same vein. "We next play Deccan [Chargers] and are looking to continue in the same vein."
The win, according to Gayle, was important as it came against the table-toppers. "They have got one of the better bowling attacks in the IPL. Morne Morkel [who was rested for the match] missed out but they have a very balanced team. It was important for us to win in Delhi," said the Orange Cap holder, who has already amassed over 700 runs in this year’s IPL.
Known for providing his team with blistering starts, Gayle, off late, has changed his approach, resorting to watchful play at the start of an innings, but he said it is not deliberate. "It's not deliberate to be honest. At times you get off to solid starts. On occasions the bowlers bowl four good balls. You have to respect the bowlers, the good deliveries. Once you get set on a good wicket and in a small ground, you can take it from there. When you get the chance you have to cash in on it," said Gayle,
Asked if he has undergone any transformation over the past few years, Gayle said, "[I am the] same Chris, [who] enjoys the game,”
Kohli, who has been leading RCB in the last few games, praised Gayle for his explosive innings. "It was an exciting game of cricket, and a good pitch to bat on. Batting with Chris is a wonderful experience. A lot of them [shots] could have taken my head off at the non-striker's end," he said. "We need to win the last game to make it to the play-offs," he said.
Delhi’s skipper Mahela Jayawardene sought to draw the positives from the loss, saying that his side played good cricket. "We played well and can take a lot of positives from the match. We have played enough Twenty20 cricket to realise this kind of loss happens and we need to just try and improve from here," Jayawardene said.
When asked about Gayle's innings, Jayawardene said, "He is in tremendous form, especially on a small ground like this. It was always going to be difficult to contain him. Still we could have chased it down. Unfortunately we could not." The Sri Lankan also confirmed that only Morne Morkel was rested, while regular captain Virender Sehwag could not play as he was unwell. "Morne was the only player rested. Viru [Sehwag] was sick. We needed to give Andre Russell a chance."
Kohli also said he was fortunate to be leading a side that has no dearth of experience. "They [senior players of RCB] really support me as captain. As a young captain, you fall short of ideas at times. But they have been very helpful. I do discuss with them whatever I want to do. In the latter stages, maybe an experienced guy would take over. AB [de Villiers] has captained South Africa. Chris has led West Indies. Dan [Daniel Vettori] has led New Zealand, [Tillakaratne] Dilshan was the captain of Sri Lanka till recently, Zaheer [Khan] is a very experienced player and Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] has tons of experience," said Kohli.
Kohli too played some attractive shots on his way to a half century, and he said it was crucial for him to have hit form ahead of the coming matches. "I wasn't doing too well... It was important for me to have hit form and I hope to continue it. Kohli also appreciated his bowlers, saying, "I appreciate the bowlers performance and they are really satisfied with the show. We have won by 21 runs. It was important for the bowlers to be cool and execute their plans."
When asked about the scenario if regular skipper Vettori returns to the side, Kohli mentioned that it was not easy to leave out the experienced foreign professionals. As per IPL rules, a side is not entitled to field more than four foreigners in a match. "It's very hard to make someone like Murali sit out but that's the nature of IPL. The foreign stars understand that," he said.