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May 9, 2009
Match factsMay 10, 2009
One team is looking to push its way up the points table after making an extremely slow start to IPL 2009; the other team is desperately trying to arrest a slide which has pushed them all the way down to seventh place. Neither Bangalore nor Mumbai have emerged as favourites to lift the trophy after three weeks of action, but neither is out of the reckoning for a top four berth. Only one point separates them, and with just four matches left for each after this one, the margin of error for both teams - and especially the side which loses on Sunday - is minimal.
Going into the match, Bangalore are the slight favourites on recent form. Though they were drubbed in their last game by Rajasthan, Bangalore have been impressive in the last couple of weeks, winning three in a row. Anil Kumble's captaincy has worked wonders, Jacques Kallis and Robin Uthappa have had big knocks at the top of the order, and Kumble has led the bowling attack with aplomb.
Mumbai's fortunes, on the other hand, have nosedived after an impressive start and they are in danger of earning the underachiever's tag in IPL 2009. A team which boasts Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, JP Duminy, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga should be doing much better than three wins out of eight, but the big names have mostly misfired, and even Malinga has cooled off after an electrifying start to the tournament. And the fact that they've already won their two games against Kolkata, the punching bags of the IPL, doesn't help their cause.
Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)
Royal Challengers Bangalore: LWWWL
The batting has lifted in the last few games, but they're still prone to collapsing - as they showed against Rajasthan - thus putting far too pressure on the bowlers.
Mumbai Indians: LLLWL
The batting has been patchy, with only JP Duminy among the runs consistently. Even he hasn't always scored at the rate his team would like him to.
Watch out for
Royal Challengers Bangalore: (probable) 1 Jacques Kallis, 2 Sreevats Goswami, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Rahul Dravid, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Mark Boucher (wk), 7 Roelof van der Merwe, 8 Dillon du Preez, 9 Pravin Kumar, 10 Vinay Kumar, 11 Anil Kumble (capt).
The move to push Tendulkar down the order failed spectacularly on Friday, and it's likely he will move back to the top of the order. With Luke Ronchi failing too, Sanath Jayasuriya could partner him again.
Mumbai Indians: (probable) 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Sachin Tendulkar (capt), 3 Pinal Shah (wk), 4 JP Duminy, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Abhishek Nayar, 7 Ajinkya Rahane, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Rohan Raje, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Lasith Malinga.
Stats and trivia
A gutting loss to England, after leading the series 1-0, has thrown up some glaring inadequacies in the Indian team but there is little being said or done in terms of improvement
His rapid improvement with the ball has been integral to England coming from behind to lead the series - but that is just one area where Moeen Ali continues to impress
On the eve of Mahela Jayawardene's final Test, his team-mate, best friend and fellow batting superstar Kumar Sangakkara speaks about what made him, and them, tick
After 8-0, MS Dhoni could look forward to building a team from scratch; now, there is nothing left for him to contribute. Free him from the Test captaincy and he could yet give back in other ways
For all MS Dhoni's many trophies and accomplishments, Test cricket continues to resist his magic and indefinitely postpone his motorbike ride into the sunset
His decisions in the England series have seemed to confirm that he does not care too much for the Test game. Maybe he should be concentrating on the World Cup
With too great an emphasis on limited-overs cricket, MS Dhoni's side have a set of skills and a level of concentration that are not commensurate with the necessities of Tests