With Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) set to take on Rajasthan Royals (RR) in an extremely crucial IPL 2020 encounter in Abu Dhabi this Friday (October 30), former India batsman-turned-commentator, Aakash Chopra, recognised the threat that West Indies great Chris Gayle will pose for the opposition.
Since his return to the KXIP XI, Gayle has rewind the clock with his explosiveness, scoring 177 runs at a strike-rate of 138.28 in five innings. The big Jamaican is one of the key reasons behind KXIP's magnificent turnaround.
From RR's perspective, the Gayle force will have to be restricted if they are to win and keep their playoff hopes alive. In that quest, Chopra believes their in-form pacer Jofra Archer will come in handy.
“They will have to figure out a game plan to stop Gayle and say, and not just one, they might need a couple of them because when he gets going, of course, he’s a tornado, who just blows away the opposition," Chopra said on Star Sports’ show ‘Game Plan.’
"So, I would say you do have Jofra Archer and he’s got pace, bowl bouncers, bowl yorkers, just bowl those wicket-taking balls to Christopher Henry Gayle and play with his ego a little bit – just ask those tough questions, make him get out of his comfort zone and that’s your game plan number one, that’s what Jofra Archer should do."
With Royals' other-end fast bowling one of their biggest issues, Chopra thinks Archer should be supported by their two leggies in Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia, who can take the ball away from Gayle's bat with their googlies.
"But you don’t really have another fast-bowler of the same repute or pace, so I would say Jofra from one end and if you can get your leggies to come and bowl wide to him."
"If you are bowling to him within the stumps, he’s going to dispatch and deposit them outside the ground with a lot of ease, just make them bowl outside off and a lot of googlies, even if it becomes predictable. Just keep bowling googlies outside off and force him to go over covers and long-off," he added.
KXIP stand fourth in the points table with 6 wins in 12 matches, whereas RR are seventh after as many games but only 5 victories.
If RR lose, they are out of the competition while KXIP will need to win their last outing in case of a defeat and also depend on other results going their way to make the top four.