RCB hold slight edge against Mumbai
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
In their last meeting in Dubai, Royal Challengers Bangalore stomped all over an unsure Mumbai Indians, restricting the latter to 115 and then chasing it down with seven wickets to spare, despite being reduced to 17 for 3.
Both teams will meet on Tuesday at the Wankhede with similar wins in their previous games, wins that could easily have turned into defeats had it not been for individual performances and the teams are similar on many other counts, too. Mumbai and Royal Challengers have powerful line-ups on paper, but that potential has been inconsistent on the field, save for the odd knocks from their stars.
Bowlers from both sides have, given the opportunity, done well but have also found themselves defending a few sub-par totals. Royal Challengers bowlers, however, have had a better run than Mumbai, with the presence of genuine quicks in Mitchell Starc and Varun Aaron and a legspinner in Yuzvendra Chahal.
Mumbai are likely to face up to Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Co, but they will be sweating on the fitness of Zaheer Khan, who is undergoing a fitness assessment after he left the field in the game against Sunrisers clutching his shoulder; Rohit Sharma said the team would "miss" Zaheer, on the eve of the game, so the signs are not good for him. Mumbai have the option of replacing him with young left-arm pacer Pawan Suyal or leaving out Ben Dunk in favour of one of their foreign pacers, Marchant de Lange, Josh Hazlewood or Krishmar Santokie.
Form guide (most recent first)
Mumbai Indians: WLLLL
Royal Challengers Bangalore: WLLLW
Watch out for…
The Russian roulette that is Mumbai's opening slot. They've had three different opening pairs in their last three matches - four in the tournament - and are still searching for a start that betters the 24-run stand Michael Hussey and Aditya Tare put on against Kolkata Knight Riders in their opening game. If Ben Dunk does play, they may want to continue with him and CM Gautam at the start, for the simply luxury of stability if nothing else.
With its quick outfield, and a batsmen-friendly track, a few Royal Challengers batsmen will be looking to find their groove at the Wankhede. One of them is Chris Gayle, who's shown glimpses of his destructive batting in the brief 20s he's made at the crease. Gayle has 108 runs from three games at this ground and his return to runs will come as immense relief to Royal Challengers fans
Stats and trivia
- Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli are the most successful pair in IPL, with 1436 partnership runs in 27 innings, which includes five century stands
- Ambati Rayudu has the most runs against Royal Challengers from among the current Mumbai batsmen. In 10 games, he has 308 runs with two fifties at an average of 38.50
Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo