Royal Challengers v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2014, Dubai April 18, 2014

A battle of the big-hitters


Play 03:23
Pollard batting too low

Match facts

Saturday, April 19, 2014
Start time 1430 (1030 GMT, 1600 IST)

Big picture

As two of the most glamorous sides in the IPL, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order axis in both sides - Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson, and Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.

Mumbai, though, have a unique problem on their hands of deciding where they want their big batsmen to bat. Michael Hussey's innings could be an aberration, but there will be some debate on whether Pollard's position in the batting order needs to be more flexible, especially in a tall chase. If they do that, it will leave Corey Anderson as a buffer between the batting and the tail. The manner in which the top-order struggled to get the innings moving along after Hussey's scratchy innings would leave Bangalore's pacers believing they can choke the side.

There are kinks for Bangalore, too. Ashok Dinda's T20 league has started from where it ended last year and as impressive as the bowling was in restricting Delhi to a below-par score, their profligacy with wides was a glaring problem. Chris Gayle's availability is also in doubt.

The match will also be the first of the tournament to be held in Dubai. The last T20 match at the ground saw Sri Lanka smash 211 and Pakistan responded with 187. Given the firepower in both line-ups, even without the prospect of Gayle, the Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer.

Players to watch

One of the things Varun Aaron is certain of is that he is unlikely to cut down on his pace anytime soon to prevent injuries. His statement to that effect came after the match against Delhi where he finished with 1 for 9 and troubled the batsmen with sharp speed. His pace, and more importantly, a more disciplined line, will help Bangalore rein in Mumbai's flamboyant top-order.

Just when he looked like he was settling at the crease, Rohit Sharma tried to clear the boundary and was out caught in the deep. At the start of the over in which he was out, Mumbai needed 69 off 30 and his presence at the crease would no doubt have helped the chase along. He quickly needs to find his feet in a role not unlike the one Virat Kohli essayed for Bangalore in their first game

Stats and trivia

  • Mumbai have had the better of Bangalore in seven times in 13 encounters.
  • Ambati Rayudu is the leading run-getter for Mumbai against Bangalore. In 11 games he has 298 runs with two fifties. Chris Gayle has 292 runs against Mumbai in six games at an average of 73 and a strike rate of 143.13.

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chetan on April 19, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    I would have asked Rohit to open the inning. As being a regular opener in Indian team, he used to pace the inning at the start. If he open in domestic matches, it help him to learn some skills to pace up the inning at the start. IPL ultimate goal is prepare the players to world class. My choice as per batting order: Rohit, Hussey, Anderson, Rayudu, Sushant Marathe/Tare, Pollard, Jalaj Saxena, Malinga, Harbhajjan,Jasprit Bumrah, Zaheer.

  • Android on April 19, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    ur can't imagine the finals of this season without RCB. hopefully we will have this trophy for sure this time.

  • Android on April 19, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    seeing d first round 2 teams look set to qualify... kkr and csk... then again kxip if they keep nerves would also qualify. srh and rcb will fail to qualify. it will hence come down to dd mi rr to fill last play off spot

  • Cricket on April 19, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    MI need to rework their batting order. Pollard/Corey need more crease time.One of them has to come up the order in order to play themselves in and this way MI will have a big hitter set for the death overs. They other one can stay down the order as insurance. I would prefer Pollard. The XI would be: 1) Tare 2) Huss 3) Rohit 4) Pollard/Corey 5) Rayudu 6) Pollard/Corey 7) Gautam 8) Bhajji 9) Malinga 10) Ojha 11)Zaheer

  • Karan on April 19, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    @mahafuz_mannan, You said CSK is the 'ultimate' batting team but punjab are just a 'good' batting team when they chased down 206 with ease? RCB are also another mighty batting line up.

    3, 4 teams are packed with big hitters so the winner will come down to who has the best bowling attack.

  • sachin on April 19, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    Mumbai Indians dont have the combination right. I would suggest they slot Anderson and Tare at opening. They need to try Shreyas Gopal for Ojha. We have some decent fast bowling talent in Bumrah and Suyal, but i doubt we would need to induct them. Santokie is potential match winner in waiting. My XI - Corey, Tare, Rohit Sharma, Pollard, Hussey, Rayudu, Jalaj/CM Gautam, Harbhajan, Shreyas, Malinga, Zaheer. The indian batting is also weak else i would bring in Santokie for Hussey and bring a Indian batsmen.

  • Android on April 19, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    ab surely knows abcd of batting-#1 batsman #1 fielder(even jonty said that) top class keeper can be opener,anchor,finisher he can bowl too take a bow -THE ULTIMATE ALLROUNDER

  • Mahafuz on April 19, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    Well after 1st round here is my take on teams. This is supposed to be the most competitive IPL as gap between sides are thin this time.

    CSK: The ultimate batting team. Lacking in the pace department though. Hify must play.

    KKR: The ultimate bowling team. Long batting line up this time. Lets bat first strategy.

    RCB: Heavy top order. Bowling is better then last time.

    DD: Balanced compare to last time. Lacking in self belief though. Duminy and taylor shud bat up the order.

    SRH: Team of specialist batsman and specialist bowlers. Perrera can play instead of Sammy to give more bowling options.

    RR: Team of alrounders. Watson must open. Lacking in spin. Tambe is good but not world class.

    MI: Well balanced team. Rohit should open with hussy and pollard should be up the order.

    KXIP: Good batting team. Lacking in spin.

    My prediction for top 4 - CSK, KKR, RCB, SRH

  • Bharath H on April 19, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    I think, Mr. Cricket's position can be played with. Mumbai can try to bring Corey and Tare as the opening pair. Followed by Rohit Sharman, Keiron Pollard and then bring in Hussey - Remember Hussey's superb knocks came when he batted 2 or 3 down for Australia.

  • Android on April 19, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    What is the perfect batting lineup of todays match.

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