Chris Gayle's 117 for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) against Kings XI Punjab in Bangalore on Wednesday has once again ensured that the demand is more than supply where tickets are concerned for today's RCB vs Mumbai Indians clash at Wankhede Stadium.
While Mumbaikars would like Mumbai Indians to maintain their unbeaten run in the last five last matches, they would also wish to see some fireworks from Gayle.
RCB’s Chris Gayle with teammate Sarfaraz Khan ahead of their IPL-8 clash against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. Pic/Atul Kamble
As the buzz around Gayle reaches its peak, it must be recalled that he has failed on more occasions than succeeded at the Wankhede. In four matches, Gayle has scored only 146 runs with an unbeaten 82 in the 2012 edition being his best effort.
When Gayle played at the Wankhede for the first time during the 2011 IPL (Qualifier I), he was dismissed for eight by Chennai Super Kings offie Ravichandran Ashwin. In the previous match, the big-hitting West Indian slammed an unbeaten 75 against the same opponent in Bangalore.
The only time Gayle found things to his liking at Wankhede was during his unbeaten 82 that included five fours and six sixes to help RCB beat MI by nine wickets in the 2012 edition. In 2013, spectators, in a lighter vein, were advised to wear helmets in the stands after Gayle's carnage against Pune Warriors against whom he slammed a record-breaking 66-ball unbeaten 175 to score the fastest IPL ton on April 23. But against Mumbai on April 27, he was a major disappointment for Mumbaikars as he holed out to Mumbai Indians' Ambati Rayudu for 18. Harbhajan Singh, who plotted Gayle's downfall, added spice to the drama by breaking into an impromptu Gangnam-style jig, just like Gayle did during his record-breaking innings.
The Wankhede Stadium where RCB and Mumbai Indians will do battle today
During last year's IPL, Gayle seemed to be finding some momentum with a 24-ball 38 (3x4 and 1x6), but Harbhajan thwarted him this time too with a straighter ball which the southpaw missed completely to see his furniture disrupted.
On Saturday, RCB all-rounder David Wiese dismissed talk that the team is overly dependent on Gayle, AB de Villiers and captain Virat Kohli to fire. “I would not say we're overly dependent. Against RR (Rajasthan Royals) the big three failed but we still ended up getting 200. Dinesh Karthik got a couple (20 runs), Mandeep Singh got a couple and then Sarfaraz Khan came in at the end and scored a few. It's always nice to have the big three to score runs, but the middle order has played a big role and they have stepped up nicely. I am fairly confident there is lot of talent in the middle order. They are all waiting to play a match-winning innings,” the South African said.