Bangalore: There's little that's complicated about Chris 'Mr Sixer' Gayle: If you don't get him early, he'll get you, without being bothered about niceties.
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) learnt that yet again, this time at the Chinnaswamy, as Gayle's power-oozing 85 not out, off 50 deliveries, helped Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) force a very convincing eight-wicket win.
To get past a target of 155 with two-and-a-half overs remaining is actually to hand out a thrashing. It turned out to be the perfect Ugadi (new year) gift.
Gayle not only took the MoM award, he left champions KKR with so much to think.
Clearly, Gayle keeps 'reminding' KKR that the franchise blundered by not retaining him after the first three years of the IPL.
In what had been an absolute shocker, Gayle went unsold in the 2011 auction and, believe it or not, joined RCB as a replacement for Dirk Nannes.
Former India captain Anil Kumble, who has switched from the RCB to the Mumbai Indians' colours, had suggested that Gayle be taken on board.
Asked by The Telegraph if he reserved his best for the KKR matches, MoM Gayle laughed and said: "Yeah... It seems so, doesn't it?"
In five innings against KKR, Gayle has registered one hundred (102 not out) and two fifties.
Back to KKR's troubles...
Captain Gautam Gambhir is having to play a lone hand, with KKR failing to start substantially and the middle-order not doing enough.
Worse, on Thursday, four bowlers went for over 30 runs each, with Pradeep Sangwan tonked for 34 in two overs!
That's not all, for KKR sent down eight wides, plus a couple of no-balls. A bonus of nearly two overs to the opposition.
The move to drop Brett Lee and cap Ryan McLaren, by the way, flopped. Not that the other two changes (bringing back Lakshmipathy Balaji and playing Sangwan) proved inspiring.
It's a long IPL, but while Gambhir doesn't believe in momentum, it's important to be on a roll. There's no better elixir than the habit of winning.
Now, for Gayle's thoughts...
Back to being a mega hit after low scores in the last two matches, both against the Hyderabad Sunrisers...
I didn't get it right after a good start in our very first match (92 not out against the Mumbai Indians). But, importantly for us, a particular batsman ' captain Virat Kohli ' got runs in the matches where I didn't... Today, AB (de Villiers) was there to help me take RCB across the line... Credit, though, must first go to the bowlers. With the start KKR got, it looked as if they'd get 170/180, but we pulled it back. Hopefully, we can continue in this manner.
The joy of hitting sixes...
Whenever I hit the ball, I hope it clears the boundary. When it's hit properly, it's gone... I'm here to entertain and try to make the most of it. Of course, I don't set a target for sixes. Whatever I get, I take.
[Gayle cleared the rope nine times against KKR, sending the RCB fans, who'd been wanting big hits, into a frenzy.]
His importance to RCB...
Just because I've scored a good amount of runs, it looks like whenever I don't score, the team doesn't do well. Fact is that we have superb international players and young Indian players all perfectly capable of winning matches. We have to look at situations and it's unfortunate that, sometimes, they aren't able to pull it off. I have gone through a bad patch, but when the going is good, you have to cash in. It's not about an individual, I want the (IPL) trophy.
Approach against KKR...
I was trying to push them back from early on... Trying to put the bowlers under a bit of pressure. One thing that hadn't gone right in the last two matches had been my balance. Today, it was absolutely superb out there. I was on to the short-pitched ball as quickly as possible, as also on the full toss and the slower delivery.
A specific plan against compatriot Sunil Narine...
Nothing really, just wanted to bat normally. It was important not to take unnecessary chances as he's their key bowler. Didn't want to take risks.
The spat between Gambhir and Kohli...
I didn't know what had then been happening, to be honest. They are very passionate guys.
Finally, if he's conscious about having been the top-scorer in the IPL in the last two years...
I have tasted success, but what matters is the trophy... Trophies count for the most... As for myself, I've got to keep doing the basics right. If one gets into a (tight) situation, then one has to find the ways and means to overcome that situation.