Kolkata, May 17 (IANS) Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) swashbuckling opener Chris Gayle has compared team-mates Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to fictional superheroes Batman and Superman after their scintillating stroke play in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The duo followed up their astonishing 229-run stand against Gujarat Lions with a 115-run match winning partnership against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens on Monday. RCB defeated KKR by nine wickets.
“Those two guys are playing like ‘Batman and Superman’. They are in the form of their lives, especially Kohli. They should keep pressing the gas and fill their boots with as much runs as possible. They are doing a phenomenal job for RCB,” Gayle said at the post-match media conference.
The two have swung the fortunes of RCB with Kohli also surpassing Gayle’s 733 runs — the previous best run total in a single season of the competition.
Kohli presently has 752 runs and Gayle backed him to get around 1000 by the time the campaign ends.
“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.”
The Jamaican also said Kohli’s hunger to better his previous performances has been the key to his monumental success this year.
“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, you can see that with his running between the wickets and fielding. He is a complete cricketer.”
RCB now have to win two out of two games to jump into the top four and qualify for the play-offs and Gayle believes if his side make the cut they will be a force to reckon with.
Asked whether they would make the cut, Gayle said: “Inshallah (God willing), hopefully we win this two games which is 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 left-hander also exploded to form with a 31-ball 49 which set up the hunt for de Villiers and Kohli.
“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.”
Gayle added he wasn’t too surprised with how the Eden crowd rooted for RCB.
“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,” he said.
The last time he was here in an IPL game, he had scored 96 and Gayle said it has been a happy hunting ground for him.
“I do like playing cricket here. This was once my home ground. We actually won the World Twenty20 here as well. It’s a fantastic ground, a happy hunting ground for me,” said the former KKR star.