Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Chris Gayle vs Tillakaratne Dilshan

Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Chris Gayle vs Tillakaratne Dilshan

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Chris Gayle vs Tilakratne Dilshan - Friday Fights



For this edition of the Friday Fights, we have a cracker in-store, bringing together two modern-day legends, who don’t get the respect they deserve in ODI cricket. While Gayle is a T20 superstar, which often undermines his 50-over exploits, Dilshan was forever in the shadows of some of the greats.

Batting - devastating; bowling - impactful; and oh he could keep too. How much could he contribute to the field? Definitely better than most. It was Tillakaratne Dilshan’s career in a nutshell which produced many moments of incredible highs while staying true to the underdog avatar he often donned due to the presence of superstars like Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara around him. When he retired from the sport in late 2016, he was already among the pantheon of ODI greats and there was never an iota of doubt regarding that. But do the common people know?

Meanwhile, Chris Gayle, who is yet to officially announce his retirement from international cricket, is often unfortunately labelled as an out and out T20 star, while his exploits and achievements in ODI cricket often render in the back pages of cricket statistics. It is a cold story of two contradictions but that doesn’t make them any lesser, does it? To honour their careers and find a true winner, we have taken the plunge and brought them into the ring for this edition of our weekly segment Friday Fights.

ROUND 1 -> CAREER AVERAGE: Dilshan draws the first blood.

Okay, let’s get this started with the obvious - career average. And this is a close one, with Gayle’s 37.83 being slightly lower than the Ceylon star’s 39.27. This was an incredible beginning and gives us loads of hope for a brighter fight as we go on. Let’s get this rolling fast.

Gayle -  9       Dilshan - 10


This is one count that matters a lot when it comes to cementing the legacy and Gayle can give anyone a run for the money. But was Dilshan any lesser? As the statistics tell us, this is simply not the case as the +0.94 (38.98 to 38.04) helped Dilshan get another 10-pointer, leaving Gayle with a 9 again.

Gayle -  9       Dilshan - 10

ROUND 3 -> AVERAGE IN HOME CONDITIONS: The Ceylon star is racing ahead with surgical precision

Let’s get to the real business. Who handles pressure better? Okay, don’t tell me the jokes that Windies don’t have any spectator at the venue but that doesn’t mean the little birds don’t add any. The Sri Lankan, however, scores a hat-trick of 10s by leaving the Caribbean megastar behind by a mile. His 41.11 average is sufficiently above the 36.99-sized punch dished out by Chris Gayle and we are veering towards an interesting battle.

Gayle -  7       Dilshan - 10

ROUND 4 -> AVERAGE IN NEUTRAL VENUES: Gayle punches back in style 

Gayle has some of the biggest support whenever he travels abroad and that seems like acting as the catalyst in his bid to pull one back. Gayle averages 38.90 in neutral venues as compared to the former Sri Lankan opener’s 36.45. This is the Windies’ opener’s first 10-pointer here. We are slowly getting off the blocks, aren’t we? 

Gayle -  10       Dilshan - 9

ROUND 5 -> AVERAGE IN MAJOR TOURNAMENTS: Dilshan scoops it out of the park, again

To keep a level field here, I have excluded Gayle’s numbers from ICC World Cup qualifiers, where he played against smaller nations. The same exercise was done with Dilshan too, who played in the Asia Cup where the pressure is a lot lesser than a World Cup. So in the World Cup and ICC Champions Trophy, it seems like the duo tend to raise their game a fair bit, but Dilshan did it better than many in the world. The highest run-scorer for the 2011 World Cup, Dilshan leaves Gayle’s 41.18 much behind with his incredible average of 49.16. 

Gayle -  7       Dilshan - 10

ROUND 6 -> STRIKE RATE: Another Round, another close finish

With the two being destructive openers in their own way, it was imperative that they would go on to score at a better strike rate, but what will surprise many is that the winner was decided by a slender margin. It is a mighty challenge to the throne as against the Jamaican’s 87.19, Dilshan delivered 86.23, losing out on just one point. A very difficult round indeed.

Gayle -  10       Dilshan - 9

ROUND 7-> 50 TO 100 CONVERSIONS (in %): A = B, B = A

This is getting utterly ridiculous, I mean how. The 50 to 100 conversion rate is almost equal, with Gayle’s 31.64 tallying with Dilshan’s 31.88. Can I really differentiate here? Surely Not, as I give both of them a perfect 10. 

Gayle -  10       Dilshan - 10

ROUND 8 -> PERCENTAGE OF FIFTIES IN WINNING CAUSES: Dilshan scampers ahead with team luxury

Given both are openers, the difference - which is again not too much - is a bigger indicator of the teams they had played in. Sri Lanka were a world-dominating bunch, which showed in Dilshan’s better percentage of the fifties in winning causes, while Gayle was not provided with that luxury. Dilshan’s 63.82 is easily better than Gayle’s 55.55, which brings a three-point difference in the overall standing. 

Gayle -  7       Dilshan - 10


This is some kind of domination from Dilshan, who takes the honours in the ninth round as well, with his centuries helping the side win 81.81% of the time, with Gayle being restricted to just 56. That again is the reason for the factual demonstration given in Round 8. Hard luck Chris!

Gayle -  6       Dilshan - 10

ROUND 10 -> NUMBER OF FIFTY-PLUS SCORES IN SUCCESSFUL CHASES: Gayle bounces back with a terrific punch

Never sign off Christopher Henry Gayle, Never! This is a perfect demonstration of when the world was baying for blood, Gayle writes his own history on stone. His 27 fifty-plus scores in successful chases are eight more than Dilshan and that levels a lot of stuff as we approach the fag end of the bout. 

Gayle -  10      Dilshan - 5

ROUND 11-> AVERAGE IN H2H MATCHES - Gayle at it now, leaving Dilshan perplexed

If the Dhawan vs Watson fight was the pinnacle of being a close aisle, this is turning out to be ludicrous. Yes, Ladies and Gentleman, Chris Gayle’s 29.38 average against Sri Lanka was followed by Dilshan’s 26.09 against Windies, which gives the Jamaican beast a two-point advantage. In Round 11, every penny .. err..every point counts. 

Gayle -  10       Dilshan - 8

ROUND 12 -> STRIKE RATE IN SUCCESSFUL CHASES : Gayle races ahead, once again

As we reached the final round of the fight, let’s get the revelry all sorted. Bite your nails, as we see who takes the final strike. Andddddd… Well, it is Gayle again, whose strike rate of 93.15 is marginally higher than Dilshan’s 92. A 10 to 9 again. 

Gayle -  10       Dilshan - 9


FINAL SCORE - Chris Gayle 105  Tillakaratne Dilshan 110

It was a gruelling fight in the ring as long after we have seen them taking on each other in the middle, Dilshan and Gayle had a gala time. Gayle can feel hard done for losing out after giving stiff competition throughout, but early advantage has seen Dilshan through. That, also, brings an end to our June 12 edition of Friday Fights. We will be back with another edition on June 19, but till then, Sayonara!

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