New Delhi: Chris Gayle's devastating form has clearly been playing on the minds of the Kings XI Punjab players as David Hussey admitted that the explosive Jamaican's early dismissal will be key to KXIP's success against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their IPL match in Mohali on Friday.
"He is one of the best players in the world in this format of the game. Our plan is to execute our skills to perfection and try getting him out for a low score. If we don't get him out early, he can take the game away from us. He can win it for the team on his own," Hussey told PTI in an interview. "Gayle takes the game away from the opposition very quickly. If we get him out cheaply, it gives us a chance to go for the middle order. The Bangalore team has star-studded line-up, which includes AB de Villiers, Saurabh Tiwary and India's best batsman at the moment, Virat Kohli."
The Australian has been named as KXIP's stand-in-skipper for Friday's game against RCB in the absence of regular captain Adam Gilchrist, who has been ruled out of the tie after he pulled a hamstring in Wednesday's game against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Meanwhile, KXIP's middle order received a big boost with the inclusion of former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood, who now has a multi-city visa to play for the Punjab outfit. Hussey said the Pakistani-turned-Briton allrounder brings with him huge amount of experience, which would be handy for the struggling Punjab team. "Azhar is a very classy player. He always did well for Pakistan. He always did well for his County side Kent in England. He provides the right kind of experience to the team. He is a good middle-order player," he said.
Hussey said he didn't mind batting at any position and rejected suggestions that he should be promoted up the order ahead of Mandeep Singh. "Mandeep is a very talented player. It's not a problem for me (playing at any spot). I just think of scoring as many runs as possible for the team when I go to bat. I am happy playing at any position as far as team wins," he said.
Punjab slumped to their third defeat, the first in their own backyard, when KKR beat them comprehensively by eight wickets on Wednesday, and the 34-year-old said inconsistent batting has been the main cause of concern for KXIP. "Batters have let the bowlers down. In every game so far, our batting was not that great. Our bowlers really worked hard to defend the totals. Bowling has been our highlight and I hope they keep on winning games for us," Hussey said.
"We have been inconsistent in the tournament so far. We need to be a lot more consistent if we wish to reach the knock-out stages. We don't have too many stars but overall we are a good team. If we put things together, we are hopeful of reaching the finals," he added.