A down but not yet out Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are betting on big hitter Chris Gayle to return to form against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in the Indian Premier League (IPL-10) game at the Chinnaswamy stadium here on Sunday night.
“As Chris (Gayle) is hitting the ball very well in the nets, he is not far from making a big score, and hopefully it happens tomorrow (Sunday),” RCB batting and fielding coach Trent Woodhill told reporters here on Saturday at a pre-match presser here.
With RCB and RPS desperate to get back to winning ways after losing three of the four games they played over the last 10 days, the stakes are evenly high for both teams.
Of the four games, the hosts (RCB) lost two away games against Sunrisers at Hyderabad on April 5 and Kings XI at Indore on April 10 and the third here against Mumbai Indians (MI) on Friday.
The only game RCB won was against Delhi Daredevils here on April 8.
“Gayle has a fantastic record here, with match-winning knocks and the highest number of sixes. He needs to play a great knock like (skipper) Virat Kohli or Mumbai’s Kieron Pollard,” recalled the Aussie trainer.
The tall West Indian all-rounder (Pollard) steered Mumbai to a dramatic four-wicket win, with 70 of 47 balls after the team was reduced to 42 for 5 in 10 overs on Friday.
RCB’s Caribbean southpaw, Gayle had hit a record 175 not out with 17 mighty sixes against then Pune Warriors in 2013 IPL season.
Joining the team after missing the first three games due to a shoulder injury, Kohli made a scintillating 62 in 47 balls with five fours and two mighty sixes against Mumbai.
“Kohli and Pollard mastered the conditions and came out in flying colours with a great performance on a pitch, which did not favour the batsmen much,” noted Woodhill.
Woodhill also hoped Mandeep Singh would come out blazing against Pune and Gujarat Lions on April 18 at Rajkot after being a bit inconsistent in the first three games.
“Mandeep is a quality player. He did well last year in the lower middle order. He played well against Kings XI at Indore to build a partnership with AB (de Villiers) on a tough surface. He also started well against Sunrisers in Hyderabad. I am sure he will grab his chance and turn the screws on against Pune and Gujarat,” asserted Woodhill.
On having Virat and AB back in the games, the coach said the home team needs to capitalise on their return and rebuild fortunes, unlike in the last two matches despite both being world class players and leading from the front with their trademark batting.
“Unfortunately, we have been hit with injuries at the start of the season. Though Virat and AB are back in the team, we lost Sarfaraz Khan and K.L. Rahul for this series, which is a great loss for us though their absence creates opportunities for others to play and grab their chances,” added Woodhill.
As the Pune team flew in from Rajkot in the afternoon, its players checked into the hotel but did not come to the stadium for net practice as they were too tired./Eom/540 words.