Star wars: Gayle v Rabada

Gayle, anyway, is a T20 giant. But in Bengaluru, he becomes a mutated monster. Kagiso Rabada will hope to conquer two nightmares which haunt most IPL bowlers: the Bengaluru pitch and Chris Gayle batting on it.

At 21, Kagiso Rabada has played 17 Tests, has 71 Test wickets, is hailed as Dale Steyn’s successor in the Protean pace attack and tweets philosophical quotes -- “The battle with oneself is the most important of all,” is his latest.

He is expected to make his IPL debut today. If he does, he will hope to conquer two nightmares which haunt most IPL bowlers: the Bengaluru pitch and Chris Gayle batting on it. Gayle, anyway, is a T20 giant. But in Bengaluru, he becomes a mutated monster. His T20 career strike-rate is 149.57, in Bengaluru it’s 167.2. His career average is 40.68; it soars by over seven runs at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. It’s here he hit that atrocious 175 against Sahara Pune Warriors.

But Gayle’s a slow starter. The stats from the last five seasons reveal that Gayle’s strike-rate is less than 130 in the Powerplay overs. Probably with some advice from his experienced skipper Zaheer Khan during this period, Rabada might win this contest.