The key is to get Gayle out as soon as possible, says Faf du Plessis

2015-02-26 00:00

SYDNEY — The Proteas have been well aware of the danger that Chris Gayle poses — even long before the West Indian batting star rewrote the history books on Tuesday at the World Cup.

The strategy planned to curtail him tomorrow has already been put in place, Faf du Plessis said within 24 hours of Gayle becoming the first batsman in the history of the tournament to score a double century after hitting 215 runs against Zimbabwe in Canberra.

The Proteas recently demolished the islanders 4-1 during a One-Day series in South Africa while Gayle struggled to find form.

“It is a huge disappointment that Zimbabwe have decided to bowl him into form, but we are aware of the kind of player he is,” Du Plessis said at a soaking wet SCG.

“He is world-class, one of the best and the day he hits form, he can win a match alone.”

According to Du Plessis the South African bowlers will not deviate much from their approach during the recent series between the sides when Gayle scored 71 runs in five innings at a modest average of 14,20.

“The key is to get him out as soon as possible and we have bowled well against him during the previous series. We are full of confidence that we can do it again.

“The rest of their batting line up is also filled with match-winners. With them there is always the chance of a wicket but at the same time one has to know that they will score quickly.”

Du Plessis said the Proteas have been facing tremendous criticism since ­Sunday’s record loss of 130 runs against India in Melbourne.

“Our supporters are passionate and we love them and when you lose so badly you deserve the criticism,” he added.

“But it is important to remember that we have been playing excellent cricket during the past year. During that time our batsmen scored more centuries than any other team and the average of our top order was also the best of them all.”

One of the big concerns to the team is the possibility that they may be without captain AB de Villiers.

The Proteas have been penalised for their slow bowling rate at the MCG and De Villiers will be suspended for one game should the team be found guilty again during the tournament.

“It is something we have been struggling with for a long time and we have failed to find a solution to the problem,” said Du Plessis.

“Perhaps the reason is that we have too many seamers in the team. It takes them longer to finish an over while teams such as India and Sri Lanka allow their spinners to bowl almost all the time.

“It is not an excuse and we must rectify the problem. The rules are the same for everyone and we cannot play without AB under any circumstances. He is simply just too important to us.”

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