Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli © AFP
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli © AFP

VIVO IPL 2018 is heading towards its middle stages. It is important for teams to gather wins in order to avoid last moment pressure. The scope for error is little for both Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), who will clash in the Match No.14 of 2018 IPL at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Mumbai-Bangalore clashes have historically attracted eyeballs. From what use to be, Sachin Tendulkar versus Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble during the league’s early days has transformed into Rohit Sharma versus Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.

MI, the defending champions, are yet to register a win. Luck has played a role too. Rohit hasn’t been lucky with toss.Meanwhile, RCB continue to be inconsistent. Their bowling woes continue despite pulling off a well-balanced side. The plight is well highlighted in the way Umesh Yadav has fared in the last two matches. He got 3 wickets against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to script a comfortable win on Friday and followed that with bowling figures of 4-0-59-0 against Rajasthan Royals (RR). Similarly, de Villiers’ fifty helped RCB win against KXIP and had he got going against RR and supported Kohli well, they could have chased down 218.

It is crucial for RCB to get their batting and bowling act right together. Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar have done well. It’s now up to the pacers to be more consistent.

MI, too, need to get their batting and bowling jigsaw together. They leaked close to 50 runs in their last 3 overs against Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Their bowlers almost defended 147 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and in the very next IPL match they couldn’t defend 194. MI remain the only side to still notch up a win. There will be little panic as they remain the only team to have 3 IPL titles in their wardrobe, and have been perennial slow starters.

Likely 11s

Mumbai Indians: Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Markande, Akila Dananjaya, Mustafizur Rahman, Jasprit Bumrah.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Quinton de Kock (wk), Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli (c), 4 AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav, Kulwant Khejroliya, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Key contests

Krunal Pandya vs AB de Villiers: De Villiers’ strike rate in IPL is over 148. However, Krunal has managed to keep the South African giant quiet. AB has just managed to score at run-a-ball against Krunal. In the 33 balls bowled to AB by Krunal, the former has scored just 34 off them.

Jasprit Bumrah vs Virat Kohli: Bumrah’s guile has consumed many greats. In limited-overs, Kohli is the greatest of all. Can Bumrah get past his national captain?

Predictions

Mumbai have a 13:8 advantage over Bangalore. They have won 4 of their 7 matches against RCB at Wankhede Stadium. Both the sides haven’t won a lot in recent times. It is difficult to predict a favourite. However, going by the way the teams have fared in this edition, RCB hold a slight edge.