Star Wars 2018, KXIP vs MI: Chris Gayle vs Jasprit Bumrah

Mumbai Indians needs Jasprit Bumrah to be at his best to stop the back-in-form Chris Gayle.

Chris Gayle has had a terrific IPL 2018 so far, with 252 runs in four innings. Jasprit Bumrah, though, hasn't been at his best yet. Their teams have had contrasting seasons, with Kings XI Punjab enjoying one of its better seasons while Mumbai Indians stays rooted to the bottom, rather uncharacteristically.

Thursday's encounter will be the first of the season at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, where batsmen typically rule the roost. The pitch is usually good for batting and the small boundary means the value for shots is high. With conditions loaded in favour of the batsmen, the bowlers will have to make the difference.

The wicket of Chris Gayle at the top of the order could have a bearing on the outcome. And one bowler whose style of bowling can disconcert the big-hitting Jamaican is Bumrah, who has nine wickets in eight outings.

Bumrah is not the bowler who floats the ball up to the bat and relies on swing. Instead he predominantly hits the pitch hard and is zippy enough to hurry the batsman. Presuming he sticks to his style of bowling and springs the odd element of surprise, Gayle will have to make adjustments. Whether he chooses to be defensive against Bumrah, who remains Mumbai's best bowler, and play out his one or two overs up front will be intriguing to see.

What happens up front, and between Bumrah and Gayle, in particular, could shape the outcome of the match.