Desperate Mumbai could target RCB's bowling
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
Just like last year, Mumbai Indians are desperate again. With four losses in four games, it's almost as bad a start as it was in the 2014 edition. But as they travel to Bangalore, a ground on which they have held sway against the home team, they would hope that the turnaround they have been hoping for finally happens. Another loss and it will be 2014 all over again.
Despite their power-hitters finding their range, Mumbai Indians have been struggling, largely due to batting collapses and a bowling line-up that leaks runs. They have made numerous changes to the batting order but are yet to settle on one. Lasith Malinga has not posed the same threat he once used to. So despite putting up decent totals, they have not managed to put any pressure on other batsmen.
Mumbai's worries must sound familiar to Royal Challengers Bangalore. Although Royal Challengers have a win from their two outings, their bowling is similarly profligate and Virat Kohli has said more than once that the team is eagerly waiting for the arrival of Mitchell Starc. Darren Sammy has said Starc could be available for Royal Challengers' next game if not against Mumbai Indians. Their batting, too, can be worrying at times as the onus of scoring mostly rests on three batsmen.
The match promises to be a slugfest between big-hitters, and is most likely to be decided by a bowling attack that makes fewer mistakes.
Watch out for…
Even though Royal Challenges have spent a fortune on Dinesh Karthik, he is not their top batsman. He is not even third in the list. But he has a specific role: to be the second-line of attack, an insurance in case Chris Gayle or AB de Villiers do not fire. In the two previous games, he has added only 15 runs. Royal Challengers would ignore those two failures for now, but they would want him to fire sooner rather than later.
After being almost invisible in the first two matches, Kieron Pollard made a smashing impact in the next two games with ferocious hitting. It's hard to pick which of his innings was better, but with big holes in their batting, Mumbai can do with another one of those, especially if Starc, who has a history of altercation with Pollard, plays.
Stats and trivia
- In the list of IPL batsmen with best strike rates (min. 500 runs), Glenn Maxwell sits on the top followed by Virender Sehwag and Chris Gayle. But the fourth name may come as a surprise for some. It is Harbhajan Singh, whose strike rate of 152.88 is better than David Miller and Yusuf Pathan.
- Harbhajan will also become the 11th player to 100 IPL matches
- Royal Challengers have a 7-8 win-loss record against Mumbai Indians. In Bangalore though, those numbers take a hit with only one win for the home team in four games against Mumbai Indians.
- Among the top-ten run-scorers in the IPL, Virat Kohli's strike rate of 123.38 is only better than Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis
- Chris Gayle has 200 sixes in the IPL, 64 more than the next batsman - Suresh Raina. Ninety-two of those sixes have come at the Chinnaswamy
"Over the years I have watched RCB play and I have seen that the more fearlessly they play, the better they perform. That is something the captain has been preaching - to play fearless and bold cricket and we are going to do that tomorrow."
Royal Challengers' Darren Sammy
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo