Mumbai : Winless Mumbai Indians (MI) will pit their might against formidable and ruthless Royal Challengers Bangalore in an adrenaline-charged Indian Premier League match here today.
Both teams, with a plethora of explosive batsmen, are yet to find their feet in the T20 league and would be keen to gather some momentum with a victory here at the Wankhede Stadium.
If MI have their problems to sort out, having lost at the death in all three games so far, RCB too have their own shortcomings to address with only one win in three games under their belt.
Both the games held here so far have gone down to the wire and on both occasions MI have had their chances to go across the line and fumbled on the doorstep – against Chennai Super Kings in the season opener and then Delhi Daredevils. In between they had also lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad in their first away game of the season, so that the three-time champions led by Rohit Sharma are placed at the bottom of the eight-team table. MI had been in worse situations before recovering poise to become eventual champions. RCB started off on the losing note away from home to Kolkata Knight Riders, brought their campaign on track immediately with a convincing victory over Kings XI Punjab at home and then lost a high-scoring game to Rajasthan Royals at home on Sunday.
RCB’s bowlers, especially Umesh Yadav who had broken the back of KXIP innings with a three-wicket burst in one over, went for plenty against the Royals.
After the pace trio’s profligacy RCB need to set right their bowling woes as MI possess a strong batting line up that threatened to score over 200 in their previous game before the Daredevils bowlers restricted them below that threshold.
Barring Yuzvendra Chahal, who bowled brilliantly to grab 2 for 22, the other RCB bowlers had an off day against the Royals. But on the positive side was the encouraging return to form of captain Virat Kohli who struck a quick-fire 57.
With a batting line-up boasting of Brendon McCullum, Kohli and A B de Villiers, no target will look insurmountable for the visitors, and MI will be aware of this. MI’s batting, on the other hand, failed to rocket off in the first two games and when it clicked the bowlers lost the plot.
The move to promote Suryakumar Yadav has been a success but their best batsman, skipper Rohit, is yet to make a big contribution with the bat.
Stung by three straight defeats, Mumbai Indians’ burly all-rounder Kieron Pollard sought advice from the media, asking if they could help the beleaguered outfit in effecting a turnaround in their fortunes in the IPL. “Three games in a row, we have lost in the last over. If you guys have any idea to tell us how to get over the line, if it happens again, you guys obviously know a lot of cricket, so, give us an idea of what to do,” Pollard asked scribes on the eve of their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Pollard, though, refused to be pessimistic and brushed aside suggestions that the team was down and out. “I don’t think we are down right now. If we were down right now, we should be home. We have got over that,” he said.
Rohit Sharma(c), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Evin Lewis, Saurabh Tiwary, Ben Cutting, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Tajinder Singh, Sharad Lumba, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Mayank Markande, Akila Dhananjaya, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne.
Virat Kohli(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Brendon McCullum, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Kulwant Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Manan Vohra, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Corey Anderson, Parthiv Patel, Aniruddha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee.