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By Bharath Ramaraj
May 5, 2014
Mumbai Indians (MI) will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in a crucial Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 encounter at Wankhede stadium, Mumbai, on Tuesday. Both teams will be riding high on confidence after winning their last game in IPL 7. Mumbai won their last game against table toppers Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). Bangalore came from behind to defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad on the back of a superlative innings by the mettlesome, AB de Villiers.
It has to be said though, despite both teams winning their respective matches, they have major worries that needs to be looked at by their think-tank. Bangalore’s batting line-up which is great on paper continues to fire only in fits and starts. The likes of Yuvraj Singh, skipper Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle haven’t exactly set the stage on fire. On the other hand, the bowlers have done rather well for them. Yuzvendra Chahal, Mitchell Starc and Varun Aaron have been among the wickets. Chahal’s success shows that modern day batsmen struggle to pick a leg-spinner’s box of tricks, especially the googly. Starc, with his left-arm over the wicket angle brings variety into the attack, and Aaron has that extra burst of pace up his sleeve.
For Mumbai, Kieron Pollard showed glimpses of what he can do in the game against Hyderabad with his belligerent knock of 78. But most of the other batsmen have failed to impress. Corey Anderson, the all-rounder from New Zealand has been found wanting on most occasions. Even the skipper, Rohit Sharma, with a batting average of just over 20 in IPL 2014 has failed to deliver the goods. In the bowling department, the veteran trio of Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga have succeeded in keeping the batsmen on a tight leash. However, they need their batsmen to do well to progress further in the tournament.
The clash between both sides also gains importance in the sense that in IPL momentum plays a key role. Both teams will surely look to build on their last win in IPL 7. The track at Wankhede stadium is expected to favour the batsmen all the way. With short boundaries and a fast outfield to play with, one would look at 170-180 as a par score. The spinners may get a bit of bounce.
In Twenty20s (T20s), it is difficult to predict a winner, as one great innings can change the course of the game. But over the years, Wankhede stadium has been a fortress for Mumbai in IPL, and despite their fabulous win against Hyderabad, it won’t be easy for Bangalore to beat their fierce rivals in their own den. With some great players on both sides, one can though, expect a humdinger of a contest.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Aaditya Tare (wk), Michael Hussey, Sushant Marathe, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Ben Dunk, Josh Hazlewood, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Shreyas Gopal, Jalaj Saxena, CM Gautam (wk), Krishmar Santokie, Marchant de Lange, Jasprit Bumrah, Apoorv Wankhede, Pawan Suyal.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), Chris Gayle, Parthiv Patel (wk), Yuvraj Singh, AB de Villiers, Albie Morkel, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mitchell Starc, Ravi Rampaul, Vijay Zol, Sachin Rana, Yogesh Takawale, Nic Maddinson, Sandeep Warrier, Tanmay Mishra, Harshal Patel, Shadab Jakati, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Ashok Dinda, Varun Aaron, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Time: 20:00 IST I 14:30 GMT
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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