Settled teams line up for interesting clash
Match factsMumbai v Bangalore in Mumbai
Saturday, March 20
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Sachin Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians have been the team to beat so far. Even a stunning hundred by Yusuf Pathan wasn't enough to derail them. Neither could Virender Sehwag's Delhi Daredevils rein them in. Tendulkar has been playing like a dream and unlike last year, the Indian youngsters, such as Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu, have begun to respond. They have two fast bowlers of quality in Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga, two canny medium-pacers in the West Indians, Dwayne Bravo and Keiron Pollard, and they have Harbhajan Singh and Sanath Jayasuriya for spin.
Royal Challengers Bangalore had a false start to their campaign when their batting collapsed in the first game, but have since gone from strength to strength. Their bowlers have shown a tendency to try and bounce out the opposition, especially the domestic Indian batsmen, and their batting too has grown more potent once they got their order right. In their first game, they had Shreevats Goswami to open, and it messed up the whole order. Goswami tried to slog every ball, Manish Pandey didn't look settled and once Virat Kohli too perished early, their batting just fizzled out. They corrected it in the second game, promoting Pandey to the opening slot but what must have given them a real boost is Robin Uthappa's return to form with a whirlwind fifty against Punjab.
That both the teams look the most settled of the units should make it an interesting match.
Team talkTendulkar constantly backed the Indian youngsters and they are beginning to repay his trust this year. Expect no major changes in either team, for both look to possess well-settled combinations.
Previously…Both teams have won two games apiece, sharing fortunes in both seasons. In 2008, Bangalore won the first match at the Wankhede Stadium by five wickets, and Mumbai crushed Bangalore in the return leg by nine wickets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. In 2009, Bangalore won the first encounter easily in Johannesburg, and Mumbai came back to clinch a 16-run win in Port Elizabeth.
In the spotlightDale Steyn starred in the last game against Rajasthan Royals. He was consistently pacy and cramped the batsmen with short-pitched deliveries. In the past, his speed has been his enemy in the Twenty20 format, and it would be interesting to see how he shapes up against Tendulkar and Jayasuriya. Expect him to test Jayasuriya with bouncers.
Ambati Rayudu has made a good start to the competition, and has looked the part in the middle order. Ever since his return from ICL, he has been really ambitious and hungry to make a name for himself and try to get into the reckoning for the Indian team. This IPL is as good as platform as any for him to come back into public imagination.
- Jacques Kallis is yet to be dismissed in this IPL. He has scored 198 runs at a strike-rate of 140.42 and has been the pillar of Bangalore's batting.
- Mumbai's R Sathish has the unflattering record for conceding the most number of runs in an innings - he went for 51 runs from three overs against Rajasthan Royals.
The chatter"It is a way of working together. I would like to help the youngsters in the team. It's not that only the senior players can help. Even a junior player's view is important. I've learnt that the more you talk cricket, the more you learn about the game."
Sachin Tendulkar shares his philosophy of working with the youngsters
"Mumbai have done very well and we will be playing at their home ground, but our confidence is high and we are in great shape. The middle order has not spent significant time at the crease, but we have experienced players there in Rahul Dravid and Mark Boucher."
Anil Kumble previews the game against Mumbai.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo