Mid-table crisis for Bangalore
Match factsWednesday, May 9, Mumbai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Big PictureMumbai Indians face Royal Challengers Bangalore for the first time this season, thanks to the scheduling. The two heavyweights have met each other nine times in IPL and the record is almost even with five wins to Mumbai Indians.
Both teams were pre-tournament favourites, boasting intimidating batsmen and experienced bowlers. However, things haven't gone smoothly for either. Royal Challengers have five wins and five losses and they are lingering in mid-table, trying to push their way up. A loss in Mumbai will put them in a tight spot. Mumbai Indians have been slightly luckier with seven wins out of eleven, even though they have been inconsistent. Whereas, Royal Challengers have been overly dependent on the Gayle-de Villiers duo, Mumbai's batting has flickered between good and ordinary.
However, the difference between the teams is mainly in the potency of their bowling attacks. Mumbai Indians are the second most economical team, giving away 7.28 runs per over as against Royal Challengers' 8.47, the worst in the tournament. This has affected their ability to take wickets as they average 36.82 runs per wicket against Mumbai Indians' 21.80, the best among all the teams. No surprises here as Mumbai Indians also have three bowlers in the top ten list of leading wicket takers while Zaheer Khan, Royal Challenger's top bowler, is 18th. Royal Challengers addressed the issue by bringing back Muttiah Muralitharan in place of Daniel Vettori in their previous game and he responded with an economical spell, but lacked support from the other end.
Both teams have done better in chases with a few last-ball finishes. However, de Villiers, who has been critical in those situations, might find Lasith Malinga slightly trickier than Dale Steyn in such a situation. In any case, that sets the stage for interesting contests - Tendulkar-Muralitharan, Malinga-Gayle, Malinga-de Villiers.
Form guide(most recent first, completed games)
Mumbai Indians: WWWLW
Royal Challengers Bangalore: WLLWW
Players to watchAB de Villiers made Steyn look pedestrian, taking 23 runs off his last over. Overall, de Villiers has scored 292 runs at a strike-rate of 171.76. With no support from the Indian contingent in the team, the responsibility of setting up the pace would again be on him along with Chris Gayle.
Lasith Malinga has been taking wickets for fun. If he can break the Gayle-de Villiers combine -the spine of Royal Challengers' batting - that would be more than half the job done.
Stats and trivia
- Royal Challengers Bangalore are the second fastest batting team behind Delhi Daredevils with a strike rate of 130.71. Mumbai Indians are the slowest with 114.27.
- Royal Challengers have hit the most sixes in the tournament - 73. Most of them have come from Gayle (31) and de Villiers (14). Mumbai Indians have hit 51 sixes.
- Three of Mumbai Indians' seven wins have come off the last ball. They also managed another tight win against Kings XI Punjab with only one remaining.
Quotes"I told him [RP Singh] to give me the three balls that were left as I knew I could do it from there."
Dwayne Smith, who smacked 14 runs off last three balls to win the game against Chennai Super Kings
"I won't say I'm a finisher of the game. I can even get better hopefully as there's lots of room for improvement." "
AB de Villiers
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.