Batsman Faf du Plessis has heralded the importance of dismissing the cavalier Chris Gayle early, as South Africa prepared for Friday’s key World Cup Pool B fixture against the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Gayle managed a mere 71 runs in five innings during January’s four-one ODI series defeat to the Proteas. Tuesday, however, saw the swashbuckling left-hander strike a world-record 215 off a mere 147 deliveries.
The sensational innings – just the fifth double century in the history of the format – featured 10 fours and 16 sixes. All-rounder Gayle, too, clinched two wickets and held an important catch – as the Windies gathered a rain-affected 73-run triumph at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.
‘It is unfortunate that Zimbabwe decided to bowl Gayle into some good form,’ joked du Plessis. ‘We played a series against them in South Africa and we know what kind of team they are. They are dangerous and have a lot of match-winners. We are confident going into the match.’
The South Africans’ World Cup campaign was somewhat blunted by Sunday’s heavy loss to India. Du Plessis’ 55 was the top score in a weak total of 177 all out, while the remainder of the top- through middle-order endured collective failure.
‘It is obvious that after the game the other day we were disappointed. What you can reflect on are some of the statistics in our batting unit. We have scored the most centuries over the last year. Our average as a top six is also the highest in the last year, so consistency is always a thing you look at. Stats don’t lie, we have to look at the positives. Look at what we have been doing this year, we batted brilliantly over the last 18 months,’ he added.