Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians
31st T20 Venue: M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru Time: 02:30 PM GMT, 08:00 PM IST
Mumbai and RCB have managed just two wins in seven matches each and whichever team loses on Tuesday, will find it more difficult to get a shot at a play-offs berth.
As far as sporting cliches go – and there are plenty of them – the one about how much difference a win can make after a series of losses is top-drawer stuff. Why else would Mumbai Indians opener Suryakumar Yadav explicitly mention ‘we’ve already forgotten about the defeats’ in the pre-match press conference? Essentially, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore reside on the same rocky boat, but the defending champions head into the first fixture of May with slightly more confidence. After all they arrive in Bengaluru after having defeated an on-song Chennai Super Kings side, and have reached that juncture in the season from where past experience suggests they can still flip it over.
Luckily for RCB, they too have some tryst with pulling off the unthinkable. At this stage in 2015, they had the same number of wins [2 in 7], and yet finished second on the table with eight wins in 14. The 2016 season too saw them endure starting problem [3 wins in the first 7] but another second-place finish and the runners-up medal was bagged.
Irrespective of what happens on Tuesday, both teams could still make it to the playoffs. And yet, there will be a lot riding on Tuesday’s result and how it could shape the way forward for both the winner and the loser.
What to expect:
A hazy evening in the offing. Virat Kohli said the Chinnaswamy pitch was ‘bringing out surprises each time’ after his team’s fifth loss of the season on Sunday. There was a lot of turn and grip in that game, and much of the same is anticipated for Tuesday.
Royal Challenger Bangalore:
If RCB do plan to beef up their top-order by sacrificing de Grandhomme, then Manan Vohra should make way for Washington Sundar to accommodate a sixth bowling option. The off-spinner has had a lacklustre start to his life at RCB, but if he forms a part of a six-man bowling team, then Kohli can use him just for a couple of overs in the powerplay, where he is reputed to be resourceful and can restrict his biggest misfiring bowler on the day to half his quota too.
Despite his fielding gaffe that had a massive bearing on RCB’s fate on Sunday, Murugan Ashwin should keep his place on the basis of the amount of turn he extracted on the surface.
Royal Challenger Bangalore Player’s:
Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers/Manan Vohra, Mandeep Singh, Colin de Grandhomme/Washington Sundar, Murugan Ashwin, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj
Mustafizur Rahman bowled an extensive spell alongside Jasprit Bumrah on the eve of the game and could be preferred on the Chinnaswamy wicket. The Bangladesh pacer’s variations on a surface that has grip will certainly be tough to deal with. He could come in place of Ben Cutting, who at No. 8 is a wasted batting resource.
Mumbai Indians Player’s:
Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, JP Duminy, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting/Mustafizur Rahman, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah
RCB’s batting is their strength and they have put on a few big totals in the tournament so far. However, it is their bowling which has let them down. They failed to defend a 204 run target which they had set for the Chennai Super Kings. They will probably choose to bowl first if they win the toss but if they are asked to bat first by Mumbai, they will have to look to score around 200 runs to give themselves a chance. AB de Villiers will probably be back and he might replace Colin de Grandhomme or Brendon McCullum. He will be the key to RCB’s batting along with captain Kohli. We can expect them to score 180 .
If Mumbai Indians bat first:
Rohit Sharma seems to have finally found some form and will look to carry on from his previous game and go big in this game as well. He almost scored a century against RCB last time and will look to better his performance this time around. Evin Lewis and Suryakumar Yadav have been in great form and will look to give their side the best possible start. If their previous match against RCB is anything to go by, they will surely score above 180 and probably might score 200.
Given the fact that both the teams are desperate for two points, we can expect a close-fought encounter. Mumbai have had a lot of those and have ended up on the losing side on all occasions, however, this time around, we can expect them to pull it off against a depleted RCB side.