Bangalore v Mumbai, IPL 2013, Bangalore April 3, 2013

Star-studded teams step into fray

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Match facts

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

How loyalties and allegiances change in the IPL. Anil Kumble's association with Royal Challengers Bangalore was long and high-profile, as a player, captain, and mentor. He is known to have played a critical role in team strategy, selections, auction picks, all for a team representing his hometown. He is in the opposing camp now, hired by Mumbai Indians as their team mentor, and will have to plot against a side he helped strengthen over five seasons on his home ground.

An immediate problem to address for Kumble's team is the absence of Lasith Malinga from the opening game due to injury. A prized asset of the Mumbai side, Malinga is still recovering from a sore back he suffered during the home series against Bangladesh. His replacement apart, Mumbai can compensate for that loss with runs from a power-packed batting line-up, though it'll be interesting to see if Sachin Tendulkar and his opening partner [there were as many as eight last season] are able to retain their combination for a good part of the season.

The Royal Challengers are among the most passionately followed teams in the IPL and, for a tournament centred on the concept of city loyalties, Bangalore has lapped up its team like no other. But the title has proved elusive, despite twice having made the final. Led by Virat Kohli this season, Royal Challengers have as many as 15 seamers in their squad - though one of them, Zaheer Khan, is ruled out of the opening match with a side strain. It could be said that Kumble's inputs may have made their job easier had he not switched over, but how they manage their personnel is one of several potential challenges this season could throw up.

Players to watch

Is Glenn Maxwell worth a million dollars? He was the only million-dollar buy at the 2013 auction, then had a lacklustre Test series in India, and didn't have a great World Twenty20 before he was bought. His purchase is a gamble, and it remains to be seen to what extent his all-round skills are able to justify, or undermine, the team's decision.

From doing the moonwalk to gangnam style, classy celebrations to banter with opposition players, Chris Gayle has loosened up significantly since we first saw him in 1999 when he took on India in Toronto. His demeanour on the field aside, he has been a pivotal player for Royal Challengers with his explosive batting at the top, and has endeared himself to his fans, not just by treating them to airshows at the Chinnaswamy Stadium but winning their admiration despite giving them a bloody nose, literally, and landing them in hospital.

2012 head-to-head

Gayle was the architect of a big win over Mumbai last season at the Wankhede Stadium, as Royal Challengers eased home by nine wickets. Mumbai then won a close game at the Chinnaswamy Stadium less than a week later, with Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard guiding them to victory in a tight chase.

Stats and trivia

  • Malinga is among the few bowlers to have kept Gayle quiet in the IPL. R Ashwin is another. Malinga has bowled 39 balls to Gayle in the IPL, conceding 36 runs that included five fours. Against Ashwin, Gayle has scored at a run a ball in the IPL - 33 off 33.
  • At the very least, Gayle could become the second-highest run-getter in all T20 cricket. He is currently on 4804 runs, just 17 behind David Hussey. Brad Hodge leads the list with 5274.

Quotes

"We do have a lot of options to pick from, with as many as 11 specialist pacers and four seaming all-rounders. Of course there are a few players who are coming off injuries, like Daniel Vettori (ankle injury)."
Venkatesh Prasad, the Royal Challengers bowling coach

"We are all friends for the next few months. That's one thing I have made very clear to the guys already. We are one. The Mumbai Indians are one."
Ricky Ponting, the new Mumbai Indians captain, says the 'Sydneygate' incident is a thing of the past.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on April 4, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    Cpt.Meanster when you say the IPL is the best T20 is it quality of the teams or quality of the entertainment and amount of money being paid out to players.

  • IJ-IPL on April 4, 2013, 14:12 GMT

    So MI has a possibility of playing with 5 all-rounders. KA Pollard, Rohit Sharama, Rishi Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh and Oram

    (I think 4 of them are already confirmed to play)

  • dummy4fb on April 4, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    I see a lot of similarities between what Ponting was, before he became OZ Captain and what Kohli is now, a potential Indian Captain. Same brashness... same aggressiveness... same super confidence... and what not (thank the good Lord,except the off field brawls,... at least not yet).It will be interesting to watch thier captaincy styles, when facing each other.

  • IJ-IPL on April 4, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    my MI team: 1. DR Smith/GJ Maxwell, 2. SR Tendulkar, 3. RT Ponting* 4. AT Rayudu, 5. RG Sharma, 6. KA Pollard, 7. KD Karthik†, 8. Harbhajan Singh/ DS Kulkarni 9. MG Johnson/SL Malinga, 10. PP Ojha, 11. MM Patel,

  • pradip1127 on April 4, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    MI Team for todays Match Sachin,raydu,rohit,ponting,Pollard,karthik,Oram,Johnson,Harbhajan,dhawal,ojha,

  • cricketfanwrites on April 4, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    I love Kholi's talent and attitude as a batsman. But as a captain he will have a lot of challenges. He comes off as too much of a 'hot head'. IPL could be a nice little test for him. Maybe with time he will calm down. If he does not, India will have to look the Pujaras and Jadejas for leadership down the road. I hope he not a Brian Lara in the making - talented but lacking in leadership qualities.

  • dummy4fb on April 4, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    RCB looks strong on paper but they have been inconsistent. Hope they bring some money and pride to Vijay Mallya.

  • LaxmiRamiVenki on April 4, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    Teams with Indian players fairing well will be the best reckoning force in IPL. And CSK is one such team which is an example of collective performance. RCB and MI should focus on the same.

  • dummy4fb on April 4, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Mouth watering contest in prospect........all big names(GOD,punter,gayle,kohli.......) and the great chinnaswamy stadium...Cant wait.....:)

  • BRUTALANALYST on April 4, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    SMITH needs to open with SACHIN they were a great combination after so many previous opening combo failures. I don't think MAXWELL will even get in the 11 and was probably bought just to put pressure on POLLARD to deliver SMITH PONTING POLLARD & MALINGA should be 4 overseas stars MAXWELL will probably get a shot in CSK as MALINGA cannot play there.