Southpaws rule as Gayle, Tharanga make merry


Sri Lankan Upul Tharanga and West Indian Chris Gayle have one thing in common - both are left-handed openers giving nightmares to bowlers in the ongoing Champions Trophy.

The Sri Lankan has been batting in what in tennis parlance is known as ‘the zone’ where a player can do nothing wrong. He has already hit four hundreds and two half-centuries in his last nine One-day Internationals (ODIs) since June.

Tharanga upstaged his more illustrious teammates, scoring 105 against Bangladesh at Mohali and following it up with 110 against Zimbabwe at Ahmedabad in qualifying rounds to help his team move into the main draw. “When I get 30 or 40, I’d like to convert it into a big one. At present, things are going my way and I’d like to build on this,” said the 21-year-old Sri Lankan, named man-of-the-match in successive games.

Gayle also is on song, putting in an impressive all-round show against Zimbabwe (41 and three wickets) before an explosive hundred against Bangladesh under lights here to help his side storm into the next round. Tharanga and Gayle are not the only southpaws making waves in early rounds, as Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara and West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul also warmed up for the main tournament with a half-century apiece.

Tharanga is not an all-rounder, like Gayle. Nor is he as free-stroking a batsman as his West Indian counterpart, but is second to none when it comes to building an innings.

Tharanga said batting with veteran Sanath Jayasuriya had always eased the pressure on him.

Gayle is more aggressive than Tharanga, having already established himself as a destroyer of bowlers’ line and length with his breathtaking shots on any surface. He has already scored 5,247 runs with 13 centuries.

Gayle hopes he maintains his form in the next round. “Hopefully, I can carry on in the tournament. I always try to assess a one-day game and be consistent. It is something that I am working on consistently,” added the Jamaican.

Gayle is also a tidy off-spinner, having bagged 122 wickets. “There are batting wickets in India, but good spinners can also create a lot of chances,” he said. “I don’t concentrate on my bowling, to be honest. My main objective is to bat. I won’t really do a lot of work on my bowling, but I am capable enough with the ball whenever my captain asks me to do the job,” he added.
Source:The News

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