I played my part: Gayle

In seven innings, the left-handed Jamaican has scored 436 runs, and is now the proud owner of the Orange Cap. Those seven knocks have yielded an IPL record 32 sixes and four man of the match awards; unsurprisingly, the Challengers have won all seven matches.

“To be frank I played my part, scoring these runs in these victories,” Gayle admitted on Saturday, refreshingly giving supposed diplomacy the go-by after punishing former team Kolkata Knight Riders. “I am not aware how the situation was earlier, but this team has a wonderful environment and we have won well. It is important that we continue this into the knockouts.”

Throwing light on his philosophy while approaching an innings, the opener went on, “When I walk in to bat I stay relaxed, keep my mind clear and tell myself – yes, I can. It feels good and nice to keep contributing to the team’s victory. This is the first time I have been so consistent and I am happy about that.

“When I got in here, I got a nice reception from the team. There’s been lots of fun, lots of chit-chat and I feel free to bat the way I want to.”

Out in the middle with that heavy bat in hand, Gayle resembles a behemoth, but underneath that relaxed exterior is a brain that ticks over nicely. “I do prepare for the bowlers, like they make their plans for me. I think about the areas they bowl to, make my plans and try and execute them as best as I can.

“Every team has good bowlers and any bowler can dismiss you,” he pointed out. “For a batsman, it is always about one mistake. Today, I was up against one of the top fast bowlers (Brett Lee) and I was prepared.

“He bowled a few yorkers and if you hit it well, it works. Otherwise, it doesn’t. It is always a 50-50 situation,” Gayle said, delighted at the Challengers’ progress to the play-offs.

“We’ve got to play like this, with an all-round team show.”

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