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Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, IPL 2018, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will hold they key for their respective units (Image courtesy: BCCI)

Match 31 of ongoing VIVO IPL 2018 will see Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) lock horns with Mumbai Indians (MI) at their home ground, M Chinnaswamy stadium, Bengaluru. In their away clash, RCB went down to MI by 46 runs in a high-scoring encounter. Virat Kohli’s side will like to give it back to MI at their home venue, which hasn’t really been a fortress for them in recent past. In this season, RCB have lost 3 and won 2 at home. In addition, with MI’s return to form — following a comfortable 8-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings (CSK) — it won’t be easy for hosts. To add to their woes, MI prevails in overall head-to-head record. The visitors have won 13 out of 21 encounters till date.

RCB had lost to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the fourth time in a row in their last tie. RCB had a good start courtesy Quinton de Kock and Brendon McCullum before Kohli dazzled with 68 not out. It wasn’t the usual 200-plus Chinnaswamy pitch, but even then the bowlers fell short of the challenge. RCB didn’t exactly fare poorly, but they weren’t excellent either, and were certainly not supported by the fielders. They also as good as lost the battle in the Powerplay overs, something they need to address soon. They would also hope for AB de Villiers’ return to the XI at the earliest.

MI, on the other hand, finally got over the line in Match 27 versus arch-rivals CSK. Chasing 170, Suryakumar Yadav had set the tone, while Rohit Sharma’s coming-back-to-form led to MI’s second win from 7 encounters. It was a much-improved bowling effort, especially in the death overs, to restrict CSK to 169 for 5. That, and Rohit’s calm, composed presence in the chase pulled their campaign back. MI took some bold decisions, dropping Kieron Pollard, and are raring to go ahead. The mood in the camp will be more relaxed, and they will be hungry for success. With a good record against RCB and a small ground to back their big hitters, MI start as favourites.

RCB Likely XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers/Brendon McCullum, Mandeep Singh, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Washington Sundar, Murugan Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj.

MI Likely XI: Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), JP Duminy, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah, Mayank Markande.