Bangalore v Mumbai, IPL 2011, 2nd qualifier, Chennai

Can Mumbai reduce Gayle to a sideshow?

The Preview by Nitin Sundar

May 26, 2011

Comments: 134 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Friday, May 27, Chennai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Chris Gayle is pumped after trapping Dinesh Karthik lbw, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2011, Bangalore, May 6, 2011
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages ... fasten your seat-belts for another show" © AFP

Big Picture

In the circus that is IPL 2011, Mumbai Indians have been the trampoline artistes. They soared through the first half of the season, putting more than daylight between themselves and the rest. Then they lost steam, and began hurtling towards terra firma. At one point they even had to deal with the possibility of missing the play-offs but, almost inevitably, they bounced back with two nerve-shredding wins against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Trampoline acts are fine, but can get repetitive after a while. Meanwhile, Royal Challengers Bangalore have provided real entertainment in their corner of the circus, led by the ringmaster Chris Gayle. He has done everything for them - he has twirled his whip to tame the wildest bowling attacks, and he has juggled batting and bowling duties without breaking a sweat, all without losing the inimitable strut and swagger that are part of his persona. He has rarely failed to entertain this season, and Chepauk will love to be regaled one final time on Friday evening. If Gayle's still in town on Saturday, though, they won't be rooting for him. Chennai Super Kings are already in the final, and will have the crowd behind them for the big game.

This virtual semi-final can best be seen through the prism of various mini-battles that will make up the contest: the battle of the tenses - the present, Tendulkar v the future, Kohli; the battle of the storms - Gayle v Blizzard; and the battle of the coloured caps - Gayle v Malinga. On a flat track, and in humid conditions that could herald a dewy night, the battle that matters most could be when the coin is spun.

Form guide (most recent first)

Royal Challengers Bangalore: LWLWW
Mumbai Indians: WWLLL

Team talk

Mumbai, like the rest of us, will be surprised by the fact that James Franklin has been their batting saviour for two games on the trot. Aiden Blizzard's form is good news, but the continued struggle in the middle order isn't. Kieron Pollard's strongest suit seems to be his fielding, and Mumbai should mull bringing in Andrew Symonds for him.

The silver lining in Bangalore's defeat in the first play-off was the manner in which their batting stood up after Gayle's early exit. Still, questions need to be asked about the role of Saurabh Tiwary and Mohammad Kaif in the lower middle order.

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team Selector.

In the spotlight

In Bangalore's previous game, a television commentator requested Virat Kohli to smile more often than he swears and frowns. Kohli promised to do so, but less than an hour later he was back to his swearing best, when a fielder fumbled off his bowling. Regardless of his demeanour, Kohli's batting has put a smile on his fans' faces in the last couple of years. Bangalore coach Ray Jennings says being passionate and fiery is an innate part of Kohli's personality, and that should not be meddled with. Yet, tantrums don't sit well with someone touted as a future India captain.

Like Kohli, Rohit Sharma is another upcoming batsman whose attitude has come under more scrutiny than his ability. If temper is Kohli's problem, Rohit's is temperament. Rohit's woes were best captured by his shocking run-out in the eliminator against Kolkata. In moments such as those, it is tough to believe that Rohit is completely switched on at all times when he is on the field. He will be watched closely in the remainder of the IPL, and when he gets his opportunity in the West Indies.

Prime numbers

  • Franklin, Blizzard and Harbhajan Singh have better strike-rates than the more celebrated batsmen in the Mumbai line-up - Sachin Tendulkar, Ambati Rayudu, Rohit, Pollard and Symonds

  • Tendulkar has hit more fours (60) than anyone else this season. Kohli is third on the list with 54.

  • Gayle has smashed 39 sixes so far this season, well ahead of MS Dhoni, who is second with 21

    The chatter

    "Ambati Rayudu is a youngster and you let him react the way he does. He will mature. You just let him be. Harbhajan Singh has also always been aggressive. We have had characters in tennis like McEnroe ... We need characters like that in cricket."
    Sachin Tendulkar might not be a fiery character on a cricket field, but he sure likes to see some fire.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2011, 17:21 GMT)

RCB is the best man....

Mumbai are struggling

Posted by   on (May 27, 2011, 16:53 GMT)

well gayle sure showed u guys..very inconsistent ohhh plzzz the runs don't show that

Posted by SalilN on (May 27, 2011, 14:00 GMT)

Its good with all overseas player!!!! Symonds suck this IPL, Pollard is little better where he can bowl and field as well....The addition of Franklin in the squad is a big improvement....TL Suman needs to be replaced with AN Ahmed as MI lack optional bowlers.....

Posted by abhishek999 on (May 27, 2011, 13:54 GMT)

get saurb tiwari in opening slot

Posted by MastBania on (May 27, 2011, 13:43 GMT)

RCB Will Win Today, Gayle Will Destroy All Dreams Of MI In Vain...

Posted by   on (May 27, 2011, 13:20 GMT)


Posted by   on (May 27, 2011, 13:05 GMT)

being a csk fan still i love to watch sachin smile more than guys hv a huge cheer 4 d MI..........

Posted by SACR on (May 27, 2011, 12:52 GMT)

tonight is going to be ABs night

Posted by   on (May 27, 2011, 12:36 GMT)

watch out for the gayle innings............... the power that makes every one in the stadium and watching live form home to watch with out closing eyes.............this is IPL4 you are watching an angry man power...

Posted by   on (May 27, 2011, 12:33 GMT)

I believe today there will be a great drama, but chances are more with Mumbai Indians, as if malinga / harbjan will get rid of gayle / kohli in early overs. All the best to Mumbain Indians, Rock !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

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Nitin SundarClose
Nitin Sundar Social media manager Nitin spent his formative years perfecting the art of landing the googly, before blossoming into a book-cricket specialist. More excellence followed in the underarm version of the game before, like the majority of India's misguided youth, he started taking studies seriously. After four forgettable years of electrical engineering, followed by a rigorous MBA and 16 months in the strategy consulting industry, he began to ponder life's more profound issues. Such as the angle made by Brian Lara's bat with the horizontal at the peak of his back-lift. A move to ESPNcricinfo followed and Nitin is now a prolific nurdler in office cricket, with a questionable technique against the short ball.
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