It could be a Super Saturday if Gayle gets going with his explosive batting. West Indies, the pre-tournament favourites, will not have it easy against Australia, who have started off well against Ireland.
This Group B clash is definitely one of the highlights of this edition of World T20. There are many mini-battles to be won. It will be Gayle versus young pace sensation Pat Cummins. And also there is the veteran left-arm chinaman bowler Brad Hogg who is considered of the best in this format. How will Gayle tackle them and the rest?
"We will have a couple of plans for Chris Gayle. We will be looking to put Chris under some form of pressure, come Saturday," Australia coach Mickey Arthur said on Thursday.
"I've coached him (Chris Gayle) with the Warriors (Western Australia) and we have some plans to counter him but Chris Gayle on any day if you don't get it exactly right he can be particularly explosive. He's a big danger for us," he added.
"You've got to get your lengths right because if it's back of a length he hits you over mid-wicket," Arthur said.
If West Indies is all about Gayle's six-hitting, Australia have their own big hitters in David Warner and Shane Watson. The opening duo can match Gayle for each and every shot.
This could also be a contest between left-handed batsmen, Gayle and Warner. Who will hit the maximum number of sixes?
West Indies batting line-up also has Kieron Pollard, another explosive batsman. Also, they have Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell to boast of.
Apart from the batting riches, the world will be eagerly watching the mystery spinner Sunil Narine. The impact he made during the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year has firmly set the spotlight on him. He recently won the ICC Emerging Player of the Year award.
Arthur said they had handled Narine well in the past. "We played a full series against the West Indies in February and March on wickets that really turned, and we battled with Narine, to be honest, at the start. But we got better and better against him as it progressed. I don't think it is going to turn as much here, so that might give us an option to, maybe, put Narine under just a little bit of pressure. But we will be better for the fact that we played him in that series over there," Arthur said.
Gayle said this was a big match and backed his team to come good in the tournament. "Look at our team - we can bat right down, bowling-wise, we have spinners and fast bowlers. Key for us is to get to the second round, and try and take it step by step. You don't want to wait around for too long before you play a game. You want to get in it and make best use of the conditions. Sometimes you have to wait around for a week and that can get quite difficult. Try and get in the right frame of mind. The first game (Australia) is vital. You don't want to play catch-up cricket in T20, so it's a very big match for us. It will also get our confidence going," he was quoted as saying.
This match at the R Premadasa Stadium could be a thriller if both teams live upto expectations.
Will Gayle, who turned 33 on Friday, continue his birthday celebrations the next day as well?
Australia: George Bailey (captain), Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo, Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.
Umpires: Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (both Pakistan)
Third umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)
Match starts at 7.30 PM IST. Also playing on Saturday at 3.30 PM IST, Sri Lanka Vs South Africa in Hambantota
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