Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL, Mumbai April 26, 2013

Table leaders RCB out of comfort zone


Match facts

April 27, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Halfway through the tournament, Royal Challengers Bangalore are in pole position, tied on points with Chennai Super Kings but ahead on net run rate. They have played a huge chunk of their home games in a cluster, and made the most of familiar conditions and vociferous support, winning six out of six at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Their two losses have been away games.

For their next six matches, starting with Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede, Royal Challengers will be traveling the country. Away from the comfort of their surroundings, their consistency will be put to test. Royal Challengers should guard against peaking too early, and their coach Ray Jennings said their early success will count for nothing if they lose focus in their second round of games. A pleasing aspect for Royal Challengers is that their two leading wicket-takers are Indians, Vinay Kumar and RP Singh.

Mumbai Indians are a better team on paper than their position in the points table - No. 6 - suggests. They sprung a surprise when Ricky Ponting opted out of the previous match and handed over the captaincy to Rohit Sharma. Mumbai scrambled to a five-wicket win against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, and with their next six games at home they have a chance to get back into the top four. What remains to be seen is whether Ponting returns.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Mumbai Indians WLLWW
Royal Challengers Bangalore WWWLW

Players to watch

All bowlers v Gayle - How does one keep Chris Gayle quiet? Among the Pune Warriors bowlers who got slaughtered in Bangalore, only Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Luke Wright finished with economy rates of less than seven. Length deliveries were duly hammered and the bowlers were guilty of bowling far too many deliveries on the middle and leg line. Fast yorkers are an option and Mumbai have one such bowler who could crack the Gayle puzzle. Malinga v Gayle will be the contest to watch.

Dwayne Smith replaced Ponting as opener two matches ago, and though Smith failed against Delhi Daredevils, he made it count with a match-winning 62 against Knight Riders in the next game. With Ponting struggling for runs, Smith could make the opening position his own going forward.

Stats and trivia

  • Lasith Malinga is currently the joint-highest wicket-taker in the IPL, with Sunrisers Hyderabad's Amit Mishra, on 88 wickets
  • Malinga has bowled the most balls at Gayle in the IPL without being hit for six - 39 deliveries. He's conceded only 36 runs to Gayle
  • Royal Challengers have played three games at Wankhede, winning two and losing one


"I would like to ignore what has happened in first eight."
Royal Challengers coach Ray Jennings is not getting carried away with his team's success.

"It was his decision to opt out, and it takes a lot of heart and guts to do that."
Rohit Sharma on Ponting's decision to sit out the last match, despite being the captain

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashraful on April 27, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    RCB is in great form. They are not depends only gayle, dilshan or kholi. they are continuing as a whole. Bowlers are showing their best. there is no match of strength between MI and RCB. RCB is far far ahead from MI. Though it is cricket. Anything will happened. but from my point of view, RCB will win today's match.

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Law of average speaks...... Chris Gayle would get out without scoring against Mumbai Indians!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    i like to see gayle batting v/s malinga bowling,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Jasprit Bumrah may get a game today

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Even though I am an MI fan, RCB looks much stronger this IPL. If Gayle fails ABD and Virat are winning matches for them. If Rohit and Dinesh fails, MI will fold-up very cheaply. MI is heavily depending on Rohit Sharma.

  • Harsha on April 27, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Everyone saying that RCB are too dependent on their top 4.. Every team wants their top 4 to flourish.. So whats the whole point?? I would say RCB are the most balanced team in the IPL.. Once Pujara returns from injury, it can only get better.. If Gayle doesn't fire, Dilshan will.. If Dilshan doesn't, Kolhi will.. If Kohli doesn't, AB will.. If all 4 fail, oh wait.. Someone among the 4 WILL fire.. It's too balanced..

    On the other hand, MI are the one's struggling to get their combination right.. They lack a good opening pair.. They lack a consistent middle order.. Malinga hasn't been at his best.. They lack the sting this season.. It's tough for Mumbai..

    Ultimately, I'd say Mumbai are running into a top team.. And MI have a lot of ground to cover.. I'd say, RCB to win easily..

  • Sirsak on April 27, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    lol after thrashing 175 runs to hapless pune bowlers now gayle must be thinking wat a bad game i have to face malinga lolthis is called destiny,s magic lol.even himself gayle knows wat chance he has against malinga.i will not be surprised if gayle is 'rested' from today,s game lol.cricinfo plz publish.

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    RCB shud leave the over dependence on Gayle and Focus on the abilities of other star players in the team. but where is Cheteshwar Pujara??? Will he play?

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    i like to see gyle vs lasith match