Preview: Bangalore, Mumbai battle for a place in IPL final

Virat Kohli’s form will be crucial for Bangalore for their IPL second qualifier match against Mumbai AFPagainst Mumbai AFP

By Suneer Chowdhary

Chennai: May 26, 2011

The Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to prevent a repeat of the previous IPL s semi final when they take on the Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier of the IPL 2011.

The Mumbai Indians would be relieved to get to this stage, the second qualifier. At one stage in the tournament, they looked like topping the group and at other, were in a danger of crashing out without getting to the playoffs.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore had started off slowly in the tournament but gathered enough momentum towards the end to top the group and get two potential shots at the final.

Mumbai Indians grabbed the third spot and in the process ended up playing and defeating the Kolkata Knight Riders to enter the second qualifier.

Bangalore went down in their game against the Chennai Super Kings in the first qualifier after it had seemed through most part of the game that they had a much better chance of making it through to the final.

Interestingly, both sides are quite used to playing on bouncier tracks and have generally struggled on the slower ones. The bowling attacks that the two teams possess vindicate that.

In Harbhajan Singh and Daniel Vettori, the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore possess two spinners of pedigree. Beyond that, neither team has much firepower in the slow-bowling department.

Of course, there is an Aiden Blizzard and there is a Chris Gayle at the top, both of whom can hit the ball a fair distance. Gayle is a proven customer in this tournament, Blizzard is slowly coming into his own. The middle-orders of both sides also have similar looks, except that the Mumbai Indians seem to have more depth while Bangalore has almost never needed their middle-order to flex their muscles such has been the batting of Gayle.

Mumbai need Lasith Malinga to bring back that magic that he had woven with his yorkers in the first half of the tournament, while Bangalore rely on Zaheer to give them an initial breakthrough. Mumbai s back-up bowling has been a bit of a concern, Bangalore s Sreenath Aravind seems to have done well to catch the experts attention.

An evenly-placed contest one would like to believe then, except if one of the two sides fail to keep their nerves in the opening salvo, much like what the Knight Riders did in the Mumbai game on Wednesday.


Teams:

MI (Probable): Sachin Tendulkar (c), Aiden Blizzard, Ambati Rayadu (wk), Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, James Franklin, Tirumalsetti Suman, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Lasith Malinga, Dhawal Kulkarni.

RCB (Probable): Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers (wk), Saurabh Tiwary, Mohammad Kaif, Luke Pomersbach, Zaheer Khan, Daniel Vettori (c), Abhimanyu Mithun, Sreenath Aravind.

Time: 20.00 local (14.30 GMT)

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here: @suneerchowdhary)