How closely are Royal Challengers Bangalore's fortunes tied to those of Chris Gayle? Since he joined them midway through the IPL and revitalised a moribund campaign, he has made 25 or less in five matches - Royal Challengers have lost all five. His other ten games have been Royal Challengers wins and he has been Man of the Match in seven of them, and a plausible candidate for the award in one other match as well.
Aren't those numbers pointing to a one-man team? Royal Challengers' captain Daniel Vettori wasn't too concerned about the side's reliance on the West Indian after yet another Gayle-inspired demolition job at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. "At least not as long as he's scoring runs," Vettori said with a chuckle, before striking a more serious note. "We've got a batting order that complements Chris and his ability to strike the ball so well. We saw guys come in today, [Tillakaratne] Dilshan took some pressure off Chris, Virat [Kohli] played very well, [Saurabh] Tiwary is starting to come into form, Mayank [Agarwal] came out and played his natural game, he looks like a sensational player."
Despite their captain's nonchalance, Royal Challengers have reasons to worry. With AB de Villiers injured and out of the tournament, only Kohli remains as a reliable batting performer to support Gayle. Dilshan, bought for $650,000, has a couple of half-centuries though he is yet to put in a match-turning contribution after a dozen outings.