Mumbai ready for another run-feast

The pre-match press conferences were largely about the batting colossuses.

South Africa's Imran Tahir, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn during a practice session.   -  Vivek Bendre

Mumbaikars are truly lucky. Wednesday was about Chris Henry Gayle. Friday could be about — hold your breath — Abraham Benjamin de Villiers. If nothing, you’ve got to feel for England, which is staring at a potential exit from the tournament.

Thursday’s pre-match press conferences were largely about these batting colossuses.

England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was offered a cruel reminder of the possibility of another round of spanking, this time from a man who smashed an astonishing century the last time he played at the Wankhede five months ago.

So, how different are these two gifted players?

“They are very different. Chris never looks under any pressure, does he? He feels like he can hit sixes at will. These are two great players. Well, de Villiers has a bigger range of shots, but Gayle has that power and he doesn't really need to try anything else. They are both good players and that’s what you get when you turn up at world tournaments — all the best players in the world in one place. It’s a great eye-opener for fans to see these guys perform at one time and we’ve got to have guys who stand up and compete with them. We need to produce these players in our side as well if we’re going to go further and win these tournaments,” Buttler said, as a matter of fact.

A calm, yet, upbeat Faf du Plessis offered a brilliant explanation.

“What makes AB so good is that he doesn’t rely on one or two areas. Generally that comes in more on difficult wickets. As a batsman, the more options you have, you will generally be successful. Obviously Chris has been a master of T20 batting for while, for all the IPL games that he has played here. He has worked out where to go and where not to go. That’s the key as a batsman, you can almost see as a side it coming; he just sits and waits. And, then, when a specific bowler comes on a day, he targets him. But they are two completely different players. But both need the same keys to succeed. There has to be an element of setting yourself up as a batter. You never really see Chris (after the bowling) go from the first ball and just start smashing. He definitely sets himself up, and it’s the same with AB. He plays at his best when he assesses the conditions and sees what the bowlers are about. And, then, when he gets that sniff, he becomes really hard to bowl to,” the South Africa skipper said.

God save the bowlers!