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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 08 May 2012 - 08:45pm IST

Preview: Match 54 – MI v RCB

MI and RCB battle it out in a heavyweight clash at Wankhede

What

Two heavyweight teams – the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore – clash in Match 54 of DLF IPL 2012.

Both teams have struggled to justify the lofty reputations with which they came into the tournament. MI haven’t been playing their best cricket, but they will consider themselves lucky to be in the top half of the points table. Harbhajan Singh’s team will come into this contest on the back of three consecutive victories; expect them to be fully pumped up, given their thrilling last-ball win against the Chennai Super Kings in their previous outing.

RCB too haven’t played to their potential so far; they have five wins from 11 matches and are locked in a mid-table scramble for the remaining two playoff spots. AB de Villiers’ sensational innings helped convert what was a lost cause into a spectacular win in their previous match against the Deccan Chargers. That might just be the fillip RCB needed to get going in the tournament. Daniel Vettori’s team will also be aware that they have just one home fixture left and they need to do a lot of damage in their remaining four away games to be among the top four.

When

Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 08:00 p.m.

Where


Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai


The Protagonists


Whether he plays for Mumbai, India, Mumbai Indians or any other team, the expectations and the pressures are just the same for Sachin Tendulkar. The 39-year old (the second-highest run-getter in the IPL) hadn’t done anything noteworthy in the early part of the tournament. However, he stroked the ball well, played some flowing drives and looked to be in the zone in the previous match against CSK.

Rohit Sharma has often been spoken about as an immensely talented player, but one who has often frustrated his fans because of his poor temperament and poor choice of shots. However, the 25-year-old appeared a totally different cricketer when batting in the company of Tendulkar in the match against CSK. It will do MI and Indian cricket a lot of good if he can pick up pointers from the Little Master and apply them more often.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers have been most influential in RCB’s success so far. Between them, they have contributed close to 50 percent of the runs scored by their team. While Gayle has done a lot of damage at the top of the innings, de Villiers has taken charge during the closing stages. The batting strike-rates of Gayle and de Villiers – 151 and 172 respectively – best illustrate their current form.

In a contest with several match-winners on the batting front, only one bowler is capable of changing the course of the game singlehandedly – Lasith Malinga. The Purple Cap holder has been Mumbai Indians’ best bowler this season. The Sri Lankan came in for some stick at the hands of Mahela Jayawardene in the match against the Delhi Daredevils; it will be interesting to see how he copes with his compatriot in the RCB ranks – Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Previous Meetings

Though matches between the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore have generally been one-sided, there’s very little that separates them when it comes to the overall head-to-head comparison. The two teams have met nine times so far, and MI have emerged victors in five contests, with RCB winning the remaining four.

When the two teams met last season, both teams shared the honours on the two occasions they met. The Mumbai Indians chased down 141 to register a nine-wicket win in the league fixture in Bangalore, while RCB demolished MI and registered a convincing 43-run victory in the playoff match in Chennai.

Trivia


Lasith Malinga is the only bowler in the IPL to have taken two wickets or more in eight consecutive matches – he’s done that in the eight matches he’s played this season.

The Mumbai Indians have the poorest scoring rate out of the nine teams in IPL 2012 – 7.21.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore have the poorest economy rate out of the nine teams in IPL 2012 – 8.64.

What next?

The Mumbai Indians will be seen in action next on May 12 when they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. Meanwhile, the Royal Challengers Bangalore will play their away fixture against the Pune Warriors India on May 11.

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