NEW RECORD! GAYLE REACHES 4,000 IPL RUNS
Yesterday was a momentous occasion for Chris Gayle. As he made his sixth run of the match, he passed 4,000 runs in the Indian Premier League, the first West Indian batsman to ever achieve the feat and only the eighth of any nationality. His 79 (47) took Kings XI Punjab to an opening round victory, defending their total of 184 successfully against Rajasthan Royals. Whilst some of the focus was pulled away from Gayle by the Mankad-furore surround Jos Buttler’s dismissal during a tense chase, time will mark this match as a day when Gayle cemented himself in the IPL elite.
Of course, whilst he passed the milestone in the light red of Kings XI, Gayle will largely be remembered for his work in the black, red and gold of Royal Challengers Bangalore, and rightly so. The vast majority of his 4,073 runs in IPL cricket have come for the Bengaluru outfit, with only a small portion coming for Kolkata Knight Riders and latterly for his current side. Broadly, this adds to his allure, given that he will be fondly recalled by RCB fans for years to come as part of that star-studded batting line-up that also included Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, but his late-career jump to Kings XI has given him a clearly defined late flourish, forming a colourful opening partnership with KL Rahul.
This is ironic of course, given that no franchise has felt the brunt of Gayle’s hitting as much as Kings XI Punjab. The 797 runs he has scored against them, whilst playing for RCB or KKR, is the most he has managed against any IPL team, and by a considerable margin.
He has also taken a liking to some of the competition’s most prominent and skillful bowlers. In his IPL career, he has scored more runs against Indian death supremo Bhuvneshwar Kumar than against any other bowler. He’s also tucked into Piyush Chawla and Praveen Kumar, as well as Windies colleague Andre “Dre Russ” Russell, but very few bowlers have been spared his wrath down the years.
Indeed, Gayle has always scored rapidly against pace and against spin, the bulk of his runs coming against the former but that largely a result of how much pace he’s faced. He’s performed rather better against the spinners in IPL, being dismissed every 30.5 deliveries and scoring at 9.3rpo, compared to 26.3 and 8.9rpo against pace.
That trademark hitting arc, dispatching anything full and in the slot, is shown in his IPL career wagon wheel. Nearly 2,000 of his runs have come in-front of square on the legside, that powerful physique allowing him to muscle everything through leg - indeed, he’s scored more runs in-front of square on the legside than Kochi Tuskers Kerala managed to score in total across their sole IPL season.
All in all, Gayle will go down in IPL history as one of the greatest - if not the greatest - overseas player to ever play in the competition. Whilst he will no doubt still have plenty to prove for the remainder of this season and perhaps beyond, his cricketing legacy in India is now confirmed.