IPL 2019: RCB, MI look to start afresh

Bengaluru: Coming on the back of heavy defeats, both Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI) will look to get their act together and log their first win of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 season at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday. Mumbai recieved a shot in the arm a couple of days back when their star pacer Lasith Malinga was cleared by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to take part in the IPL.

SLC had earlier announced that only those players would be eligible for selection in the World Cup squad, who would compete in the Super Provincial One-Day domestic tournament, slated from April 4 to 11. The verdict had forced Malinga to make himself unavailable for MI’s first six matches. However, according to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the SLC has changed its stance after a few calls by BCCI.

SLC Chief selector Ashantha de Mel said that Malinga’s place in the World Cup bound squad is guaranteed, so he is free to participate in the IPL. Virat Kohli’s RCB, who are yet to win the IPL and regularly draw a lot of flak for that, were bundled out for 70, the sixth-lowest score in IPL history, in their first game of the this year’s league against Chennai Super Kings.

RCB lost the game by seven wickets after their bowlers did well to try and put up a semblence of a fight but it was never going to be easy with such a paltry total on the board. Not only did the team management read the conditions wrong, the famed RCB batting line up were also guilty of poor shot selection. Opening the batting, Kohli could manage just six, while AB de Villiers scored nine as barring Parthiv Patel (29), none of the batters reached double figures.

Against Mumbai Indians, who have the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan and Ben Cutting, Kohli would know that his team will have to bat much better. One positive aspect from their forgettable last match was the way wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal bowled, conceding just six runs from his four overs and taking a wicket.

Moeen Ali was good too and so was Haryana’s Navdeep Saini. Skipper Rohit Sharma would hope his bowlers get their house in order ahead of the RCB game and treat the Delhi poor show as a one off. Mumbai’s batting, except veteran Yuvraj Singh (53), looked ordinary too. Talking of sub-plots, the battle between Kohli and Bumrah would be one to watch out for, with both players being at the peak of their powers in recent times.

Here’s how both captains have performed so far

Virat Kohli (RCB) (2013-PRESENT)
Team India skipper and ‘Run Machine’, Virat Kohli is leading RCB since 2013, after taking over from Daniel Vettori. As captain, Kohli holds the record of hitting most centuries in IPL with 4 smashing tons. Kohli led his side to the final in 2016 but ended up on the losing side.

Rohit Sharma (2011-Present)
Rohit Sharma took command of Mumbai Indians (MI) in 2011 from Sachin Tendulkar. Since then, there has been no looking back for the Mumbaikar as he has managed to win IPL thrice (2013, 2015 and 2017) for the franchise. Known as the bowlers’ captain, Rohit will be happy with the arrival of Lasith Malinga in his ranks.

Head-to-Head & key numbers

  • RCB have faced MI 25 times in IPL, with Mumbai winning 16 and RCB emerging victorious 9 times.
  • Highest individual score in this fixture: AB de Villers (RCB) – 133* in Mumbai (2015)
  • Best bowling figures in this fixture: Samuel Badree (RCB) – 4/9 in Bengaluru (2017)
  • Most runs in this fixture: Virat Kohli (RCB) – 629
  • Most wickets in this fixture: Harbhajan Singh (MI) – 22.

Probable XI

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel (WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Navdeep Saini.

Mumbai Indians
Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah, Ben Cutting, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Yuvraj Singh, Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock (Wk).

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