Mid-table scrap heats up
Match factsMonday, May 14, 2012
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
Big PictureMumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore have played a big role in spicing up the race for the playoffs. A big win over Kolkata Knight Riders featured a significant landmark for Rohit Sharma and an excellent start to Herschelle Gibbs' IPL season, giving Mumbai Indians reason to not tinker with their opening combination again. They are currently third in the points table and can go at least one spot up should they beat Royal Challengers, and reach a position of relative safety vis-à-vis the playoffs.
Royal Challengers have won three in a row, including a nine-wicket demolition of Mumbai Indians last week, and would be desperate to keep that run going. After facing Mumbai Indians, they take on toppers Delhi Daredevils - not the ideal team to be facing in the event of a must-win scenario or being at the mercy of net run-rates. Mumbai Indians are a formidable opponent themselves, and Royal Challengers, currently No.5, will do well to push them back to a position of insecurity.
Form guide(most recent first, completed games)
Royal Challengers Bangalore: WWWLL
Mumbai Indians: WLWWW
Players to watchChris Gayle has taken the batting plaudits for Royal Challengers but his opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan has been building up good form as well. His half-century against Pune Warriors was his third in six innings; he's also outshone Gayle on occasion. How will he face up to his team-mate, and the IPL's best bowler, Lasith Malinga?
Herschelle Gibbs took little time to show his worth to the Mumbai Indians side, stepping out to smash Brett Lee for three fours over extra cover in the space of four balls. He adapted well, ceding the floor to Rohit who was the more aggressive of the pair, and didn't show any signs of rustiness or discomfort despite having to sit out the bulk of his team's campaign.
Stats and trivia
- Rohit Sharma's century against Knight Riders was the 22nd in the IPL and the eighth by an Indian in the tournament's history. His 167-run stand with Herschelle Gibbs was the third-highest in the IPL.
- Pragyan Ojha has taken the most wickets for a left-arm spinner in the IPL - 69 in 63 matches. Daniel Vettori is third in the list, with 28 in 34 games. Brad Hogg and Ravindra Jadeja top the list this season with 10 each; Ojha has nine.
Quotes"But as far as talent and technique is concerned, I think Rohit is a little bit better than Virat."
"The last two games, we have bowled well. The bowlers have stepped up and we are peaking at the right time which is good."
Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo