These are two hard-hitting teams trying to come to terms with conditions that limit their ambitions. Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore raise heck at the Chinnaswamy. And Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians are virtually unstoppable at their Wankhede fortress. The pitches there are quick and true so batters can go out and do what they do by instinct. Out in the desert, that's not quite the case.
The new ball is the only time these two teams can go hammer and tongs and other random household instruments. After that, when the field spreads and pace is taken off the ball, they need to be more nuanced. Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers will want to adjust their gameplans to account for this vagary as quickly as possible. Otherwise they might just tumble out of title contention, victims of the Kolkata Knight Riders redemption arc.
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Hardik Pandya has been conspicuous by his absence over the last two matches, although the rumblings are that he might just be ready to make his return.
Mumbai Indians' middle order. It used to be the engine room that churned out success. Their 2020 title was built on invaluable contributions from Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan. Players capable of hitting sixes from ball one. However, they have had to play most of their matches this season on surfaces that haven't been conducive to that kind of daredevilry. Suryakumar and Kishan are quality players; assets who will be playing a T20 World Cup in a month's time. If they give themselves a little time - five or six balls to get set - they could well leave the UAE with not one but two trophies.
Virat Kohli's IPL Part II began with a resignation. He no longer wanted to be a captain in T20 cricket. The stress of devising plans A through Z and beyond match after match after match can be just a tiny bit stressful. Especially to a player who seems to live and die with each ball bowled. Kohli's decision was meant to free him up as a batter; to transition from anchor, a role that is redundant in this format, to marauder. But it looks like the lack of depth in the Royal Challengers batting line-up is coming in the way of his progress.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Devdutt Padikkal, 2 Virat Kohli (capt), 3 Glenn Maxwell, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Rajat Patidar, 6 Kyle Jamieson, 7 Srikar Bharat (wk), 8 Harshal Patel, 9 Navdeep Saini/Shahbaz Ahmed, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Mumbai Indians: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Hardik Pandya/Saurabh Tiwary, 8 Adam Milne, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
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Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo