It is the tournament opener for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians. Both teams are packed with a lot of super stars, and despite having a lot of potential they have not been able to lay their hands on the coveted IPL Trophy.
Both teams have had a change of leadership and will be hoping that this brings about a change in their fortunes. Virat Kohli has been made the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore, while the Mumbai Indians have handed the reins of their team to their latest overseas signing, Ricky Ponting.
Thursday, March 4, 2013, 8 p.m
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
When talking about Royal Challengers Bangalore, how can one possibly look beyond the towering frame of Chris Gayle? In two seasons with the Bangalore franchise, the Jamaican has left an indelible mark on the tournament; he has scored 1341 runs and hit 103 sixes in 27 matches. For the small matter, he’s also won the Man of the Match award in 11 of the 27 matches he’s played. That illustrates the kind of impact he has made on the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s fortunes.
The towering personality of Gayle in the Royal Challengers line-up is matched by the mountain of runs in the Mumbai Indians line-up. The Mumbai franchise have in their line-up Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting - two of the best the game has seen – and both of who love challenges. For Tendulkar, who will turn 40 later this month, the challenge will be to come out of the indifferent form he was in during the Test series against Australia and adapt to the demands of the Twenty20 format, while for Ponting the challenge will be to adapt to his new role as captain of the Mumbai Indians and live up to the standards he set during his 19-year international career.
On the bowling front, the absence of Lasith Malinga, recovering from a sore back and yet to arrive in India is bound to affect the MI’s. But skipper Ponting seemed unfazed feeling he had enough replacements. Malinga has established a reputation of being a very difficult bowler to score off – especially in the T20 format.
RCB have their share of grief too. Bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan is out with a back strain and the man for all seasons and slots, AB DeVilliers is yet to land on Indian soil.
The Mumbai Indians will be buoyed with the knowledge that they have an unblemished record at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. The Mumbai Indians have played four matches in the Garden City and have won each one of them. Overall, they hold a 6-5 edge over the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Chris Gayle holds the record for the most sixes in the IPL. He has hit 129 sixes which account to 42.9% of the runs he has scored in the competition.
The Mumbai Indians have in their ranks two of the top four wicket-takers in the IPL. Lasith Malinga tops the list with 83 wickets while Pragyan Ojha comes in third with a kitty of 73 wickets.
Virat Kohli’s team will hop across to Hyderabad for their next fixture; they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on April 7. The Mumbai Indians meanwhile will play their second away fixture when they travel to Chennai to take on the Chennai Super Kings on April 6.