- Recent form in all three instances spices further the IPL duel between AB de Villiers and the Rabada-Nortje pace alliance.
- The winners of Monday’s fixture will advance to the top of the table.
- Fit-again all-rounder Chris Morris is a possible infusion to the RCB side, adding to the SA flavour to the Dubai meeting.
South Africa’s boldest, still most talked-about batsman against the undisputed cream of the country’s fast bowling crop ... that’s the recipe in Dubai later on Monday (16:00).
Only enhanced by the broader picture of the winner going top of the table, superstars AB de Villiers of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kagiso Rabada (Delhi Capitals) lock horns in the Indian Premier League.
South African interest goes beyond that, too: in-form Proteas speed merchant Anrich Nortje, who has been dovetailing formidably with Rabada, is likely to get his own crack at De Villiers, while there are suggestions from the United Arab Emirates that all-rounder Chris Morris could make a belated first appearance alongside De Villiers for RCB.
Morris has not played a serious cricket match since as far back as 6 February, when he represented Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League, but has reportedly recovered from a side injury and is in the frame for selection for this high-stakes encounter.
Although Mumbai Indians lead the table with six points from five matches (three wins, two losses), it is only on net run rate: both the Capitals and RCB have as many points from only four fixtures apiece and three wins from four in each instance.
Only one South African, De Villiers’s former Affies schoolmate Faf du Plessis, currently has more runs than he does: 282 at an average of 94 from five innings for Chennai Super Kings.
The 36-year-old De Villiers currently has 146 at 73.00 (four innings) and a strike rate of 178; he has not yet failed noticeably at the crease in the tournament and didn’t add significantly to his tally last time out simply because he was 12 not out when RCB thrashed Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets.
Rabada, meanwhile, will only wish to restore his phenomenal “normal service” in the IPL after finally taking some punishment in a massively high-scoring weekend triumph over Kolkata Knight Riders.
He went for 51 runs in his four overs and the fact that he only managed one wicket meant he snapped a 10-match streak at the tournament - stretching back to last year’s - for bagging at least two wickets on every occasion.
In general terms, however, he is still firing handsomely as he awaits the huge De Villiers (and Virat Kohli) challenge: he is joint-leading wicket-taker in the 2020 event with eight at 15.75 (economy 7.87), alongside Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami and Trent Boult.
Nortje is also generating significant, consistent pace and enters this red-letter clash straight off a last return of 3/33 in the 18-run victory over the Knight Riders.
The match is live on SuperSport (SS Cricket, channel 212).
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