High stakes in battle of IPL heavyweights
Match factsSunday, September 19
Start time 1730 (1530 GMT)
The clash between these two IPL heavyweights is the biggest draw in Group A and the stakes have increased with South Australia Redbacks sealing their place in the semis after three straight wins. Mumbai Indians face a must-win clash while Royal Challengers Bangalore have a bit more breathing space, given they'll be facing the Lions in their final league game after the results of Sunday's fixtures will have either intensified or narrowed down the race for the final four. Defeats for Guyana and Mumbai tomorrow will knock them out, making the Bangalore-Lions game a sudden death. The opposite results, however, will theoretically keep all four teams in contention.
Mumbai and Bangalore brushed aside Guyana and their defeats to South Australia were also similar. Both fielded terribly and were beaten by South Australia's century-opening stands but the difference lay in the batting. While Mumbai's innings was laced with several important contributions, a feat repeated against Guyana, Bangalore had just three batsmen reach double-figures en route to 154, which included 13 extras. Each of the front line Indian batsmen fell cheaply and though Bangalore were rescued by the counterattack led by Ross Taylor and Dillon du Preez, it's a failure they can ill-afford to repeat against an equally power-packed Mumbai batting line-up. The loss of Jacques Kallis due to a sore back had its impact at the top of the order and with the ball. A return could prove a timely boost to a side slightly behind on momentum.
Team newsBangalore may have a few tough calls to make in the event of Kallis' return. du Preez was his replacement against South Australia and he smashed a 25-ball 46. Bangalore could be made to choose between him and Cameron White. They tried out Vinay Kumar in place of B Akhil but without much success; Abhimanyu Mithun remains an extra pace option.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible): 1 Jacques Kallis/Manish Pandey, 2 Rahul Dravid, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Dillon du Preez/Cameron White, 7 Praveen Kumar, 8 Abhimanyu Mithun/Vinay Kumar, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Anil Kumble, 11 Nayan Doshi.
Mumbai got most things right against Guyana, and could go in with the same team. Abhishek Nayar, who came in as a replacement for Dhawal Kulkarni in the squad has himself been replaced due to a flu and respiratory infection. Assam seamer Abu Nechim takes his place.
Mumbai Indians (possible): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Kieron Pollard, 4 Saurabh Tiwary, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Dwayne Bravo, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Ali Murtaza.
Watch out for ...Rahul Dravid was far from comfortable against South Australia, scoring 4 off 11 and, not for the first time, got out trying to overcome his frustration by attempting the paddle. He took his time while chasing a paltry target against Guyana in Bangalore's first game. Under pressure, however, his position in the batting order could be reconsidered given the presence of several explosive batsmen in the line-up.
In each of this three appearances this tournament, Kieron Pollard has reaffirmed the reputation that won him a bumper bid at the IPL auction. He's struck 14 sixes, entertained the crowd with his brute power and raised the price-bar for the next auction. And he's enjoying it, jiving to the music on the pitch with Dwayne Bravo after he sent Shaun Tait over cow corner. In a do-or-die encounter, Mumbai have the game-changer they need to stay alive.
Opening stands: Both teams possess plenty of ammunition in the middle order and solid batsmen making up the opening partnerships. Shikhar Dhawan and Sachin Tendulkar have been productive at the top while Bangalore's results have been mixed thus far. In the battle of the bats, against pace bowlers who're adept with their skills and variations, the start to each innings involves a keen contest.
Stats and trivia
- Dwayne Bravo is one of seven bowlers to have grabbed a four-wicket haul in the Champions League Twenty20, but for Trinidad and Tobago against Somerset in 2009.
- Kallis, with an average of 8.66 for his six wickets, has the best average for anyone who has bowled three overs or more in the competition.
Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo