KOLKATA: Simply blown away by their pyrotechnics, West Indies left-hander Chris Gayle compared Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to fictional superheroes ‘Batman’ and ‘Superman’, as the duo lit up the Indian Premier League with some dazzling display of top quality batsmanship.
“Those two guys are playing like ‘Batman and Superman’. They are in the form of their lives, especially Kohli. They should continue pressing the gas, don’t ease up and fill their boots with as much runs as possible. They are doing a phenomenal job for RCB,” Gayle said in the post-match media conference.
With 1349 runs from 12 matches, Kohli and De Villiers seemed to be unstoppable and are the top-two leading run-getters of the ninth season.
Their amazing form has swung the fortunes of Royal Challengers Bangalore , who routed two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets yesterday.
Carrying forward their stellar show of Bangalore where they ran riot with a record 229-run partnership in their colossal 144-run win over Gujarat Lions, Kohli (75 not out) and De Villiers (59 not out) made short work of KKR’s 183/5 to romp home with eight balls to spare.
“It’s fantastic, they (Kohli and AB) are batting under pressure as well. Credit must go to both of them. Kohli leading from the front is even better. Overall, it’s a great team effort. Those guys may have contributed in all the 12 games so far. Hopefully, they can continue and put us in winning position.”
With three centuries and five fifties in his tally of 752 runs, ‘Orange Cap’ holder Kohli has lifted an otherwise lacklustre IPL and in the process has surpassed Chris Gayle’s 2012 record 733 runs in an IPL season.
Describing Kohli as a complete cricketer, Gayle said the Indian Test captain should go past 1000-mark.
“I must congratulate him to achieve such a thing in IPL so far. With two more games, maybe he can get close to 1000 runs. And who knows, if we make the play-offs…”
Decoding Kohli’s success, Gayle said it’s the Indian’s hunger to better his previous performances that has been key to his success.
“It’s always about determination. He (Kohli) is a person who is never satisfied. He always actually wants to better his last performance which is good. For any batsman wanting to better your last performance, you keep building on that especially when you’re in a good form, capitalise on that and cash in on as much as possible,” Gayle said.
“He’s a doing a great job. It is not always about power-hitting, but it is about right timing, shot selection. He is very fit as his running between the wickets bears testimony and while on the field as well. He is a complete cricketer,” he added.
RCB’s have come within sniffing distance of the play-offs jumping to fifth place and would need to win their remaining two matches against Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils to keep their hopes alive.
Gayle said they will be a threat to other teams if they make the final-four.
Asked whether they would make the cut, Gayle in his inimitable style said: “Inshallah (God willing),” and added: “Hopefully we win these two games which are very important for us. The rest will take care of itself.
“We just need to come out and keep firing in these two games and then we actually see where we end up. If we do get to sneak into the play-offs there will be danger for other teams.”
The RCB opener also exploded to form with a 31-ball 49 that set up the chase before AB-Kohli show and Gayle said he was happy for the fans.
“I’m more happy for the fans today rather than Chris Gayle getting those runs. I’m glad to be back among runs. Something small but you have to accept that nothing has been big so far.”
KKR’s den had transformed into Kohli’s ‘home ground’ as the packed crowd was seen chanting ‘RCB, RCB and Gayle said the fans wants the cricketers to entertain or simply get lost.
“They love to be entertained. If you are not hitting those sixes and fours, get off the field, you know. Let us want to see some entertainment. Wickets, sixes and fours…”
Gayle however said he was not surprised to see the huge fan base at KKR’s home ground as their team was a crowd-puller.
“I’m not surprised at all. We have a huge fan base wherever we travel. They love seeing sixes and fours. So you always get support when playing in away so it actually feels being at home as well. It’s fantastic from the fans all these years.”
“I do like playing cricket here. This was once my home ground. I know the conditions well. We actually won the World Twenty20 here as well. It’s a fantastic ground, a place where you can call it a home ground to be honest. I’m happy to be among the runs today,” the former KKR batsman said.
Gayle was not among runs in this season and his scores in the five outings for RCB before the one yesterday read a sorry 1, 0, 7, 5, 6, and was undergoing a lean phase since his 100 not out versus England in the World Twenty20 in Mumbai exactly two months back.
“It’s cricket. You may be a big player but sometime you need a bit of reminder as well how good you’re. There’s always been up and down in cricket and life as well. You just try to reborn as quickly as possible.”
“We all as players know what’s required. You back someone when he’s not getting his actual performance going, and when he actually needs it as well. It’s basic stuff. You keep it simple as much as possible and play fearless cricket, keep stamping your authority which is very important as well.”
He said the pitch was a batting friendly wicket.
“It didn’t assist the spinners as much as possible. It was a good batting wicket actually. The new ball did not swing as much. There wasn’t any huge turn. It was a good wicket. 180 was always chaseable on this sort of wicket.”