With Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore opening their campaign in the second match of IPL 6 at Bangalore, the contest appears to be all about Gayle and Pollard, in the absence of Malinga. Both are different forms of devastation for opponents. While Gayle being an opener has already rewritten batting records, Pollard is one of the best allrounder in the Twenty20 world. Being younger is following the footprints of his West Indies teammate.
With 4804 runs (in 126 innings) already in his T20 account, Gayle needs only 17 runs to move ahead of David Hussey to become second highest run scorer in T20 world. Nobody would be surprised if by the end of 2013 IPL he has scored enough (Yes, Again!!) to surpass 5274 runs of Brad Hodge, the highest run scorer in T20 Cricket. Even in IPL he has already broken all sorts of records, taking Royal Challengers Bangalore to many one-sided wins mostly with bat, and at times with ball too.
Overall his 10 centuries are a high record in Twenty20 for anyone to catch. He has also hit 33 half-centuries, with 366 boundaries and a world record 349 sixes. Even his bowling has been used well outside IPL and while his economy of 7.61 is useful he has even grabbed 56 wickets in 94 innings with his best performance being 4/22.
With 1341 runs in only 26 matches, Gayle is the second best batsman of RCB, behind 1639 runs by Kohli who has taken 69 innings to reach the mark. Gayle has hit 3 centuries and 10 half-centuries. He is the only IPL player to have scored a century of sixes with 103 sixes in his bag, besides 102 boundaries. His long innings have taken his average to 63.85 and the strike rate is staggering 170.17. Despite being the opener he has remained unbeaten on 5 occasions too. He grabbed the Orange Cap in 2011 scoring 608 runs despite playing only 12 innings. In 2012 he created IPL record by crossing 700-run mark. He grabbed the Orange Cap again with 733 runs in 14 innings.
His bowling was very rarely used in the last IPL and that surprised all. Still he has a good economy of 7.62, although with just 8 wickets under his kitty in the 41 overs he has bowled in 15 innings, his average zooms high to 38.75. Fielding is not his forte and has taken only 4 catches in IPL.
Pollard on the other hand is one of the most feared T20 player belonging to the globetrotters group in real sense, playing across the year almost in every T20 series of different countries. His batting, bowling and fielding overall make him the most dangerous player for opponents. Even for Mumbai Indians with 41 wickets (in 42 innings) he is their third best bowler behind Malinga (83 wickets in 56 matches) and Harbhajan (54 wickets in 61 innings).
As a batsman his 639 runs (in 38 innings) is the fifth best for MI, behind Tendulkar (2047 runs in 64 matches), Rayudu (1084 runs in 45 innings), Rohit Sharma (805 runs in 30 innings), Jayasuriya (768 runs in 30 innings).
Overall in T20 he has scored 3430 runs in 159 innings. He has hit record 240 sixes, 222 boundaries and with unbeaten 89 as highest scored 17 half-centuries. While his lower down the order position reduces his average to 28.82, his strike rate is staggering 160.43, and on 40 occasions he has remained unbeaten too.
While bowling he has grabbed 143 wickets in 142 innings. His strike rate is 16.8 while economy is 7.87. Thrice he has taken 4 wickets in a match with 4/15 being the best performance.
Gayle and Pollard
The 25-year lad has started showing sign of maturity too. That sounds more danger now for opponents. Now he is patient to settle and then starts his bang-bang. That makes him open to bigger innings for whichever team he is playing, even if he is coming lower down the order that adds stability and of course quick runs for the team.
On the other hand the 33-year old Chris Gayle is the face of West Indies Cricket at present. He may well go around for another 5 years to become the Sachin Tendulkar of Twenty20 creating all sorts of unimaginable batting records. Pollard would certainly not mind chasing his Caribbean teammate and soaking in glory with him.