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The fact that they have been able to get through the line without the services of their injured overseas stars Ablie Morkeland Dirk Nannes is a further pleasing factor for the team.
On the eve of the KKR match, CSK’s bowling coach Andy Bichel hinted the team would field the same playing XI that won them their last two matches, against Rajasthan Royalsand Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“We have a few little injuries around the place. Eight games in and we’re looking to play the same side to play Sunday’s game,” Bichel said. While he almost ruled out Morkel’s comeback in the XI for the game, Bichel said Nannes could take the field after recovering well.
“Albie is in the process of recovering; he’s bowling in the nets but I think it might be a little early for him to play again. But Dirk has made some good progress over the last week and depending how he gets through the fitness test, he has a good chance of playing on Sunday,” Bichel said. While discussing his bowling attack, the CSK bowling mentor also touched upon the aspect of T20 bowling that is most talked about – bowling at the death.
“It’s always an interesting issue in T20 format,” Bichel said, adding, “I think of all the matches we’ve played so far we’ve been under the pump only three times. It’s okay if No.9 and 10 are at the crease and you’re bowling yorkers at them.
“It’s those times when AB de Villiers, Steven Smith and the likes are at the crease when the bowlers are tested. It’s a challenge for all our bowlers to keep on improving on that aspect. We certainly have a strong focus on that in our training,” he said before explaining the system the team has put in place in the nets to help bowlers improve their death bowling.
“We bowl with new balls and old ones in the net session and create a set-up that matches our batting line-up. We see that Vijay and Michael Hussey face the new ball and MS Dhoni bats against the old one.
“Bowlers are told where their fields are and we try to have a match scenario. But we don’t have 50,000 people in the stadium and the scoreboard that matters, which makes a difference. That’s the only problem,” he said.
Considering that the wickets are gradually slowing down, Bichel admitted the discussion of playing an extra spinner will arise at some point. However, he was reluctant on changing the formula that is working for the team so far.
“It’s a big decision to change that formula. But for the fact that it is turning a bit, maybe (Suresh) Raina comes in as an option. It’s a big one to make but we will have to assess the conditions and they are changing week by week.”
Table-toppers Royal Challengers Bangalore clash with the Mumbai Indians in Match 37 of Pepsi IPL 2013.
The Mumbai Indians have four wins and three defeats so far this season. The team will be brimming with confidence after they clinched a nail-biter against the Kolkata Knight Riders in their previous outing. They will be keen to exploit RCB’s poor record in away games; the table-toppers have a 100% win record at home (six out of six) but have lost both their away matches so far – even if only by slender margins.
Saturday, April 27, 2013, 8 p.m
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Though the Mumbai Indians have realised only 125 runs in seven innings from Sachin Tendulkar, they haven’t quite felt the pinch because their middle order looks to be in good touch. Dinesh Karthik may have gone of the boil in the last couple of games, but he continues to be an important cog in MI’s plans. Rohit Sharma, who captained MI in the previous match, too is an important member in MI’s batting plans. The two players from the Caribbean – Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard – play important roles at the top of the innings and at the death respectively.
One does not have to look beyond the towering frame of Chris Gayle in the RCB line-up. The Jamaican smashed his way into the record books with his unbeaten 175 in the previous match and snatched the Orange Cap from his skipper Virat Kohli, who too has been in tremendous form this season. Gayle’s pyrotechnics and Kohli’s run has meant AB de Villiers has not had too much to do this season – expect him to come to the party, if and when he gets the opportunity.
The hosts certainly have the edge in the bowling department – for reasons of variety and pace – even if numbers will show RCB bowlers have performed better this season. Mitchell Johnson getting the ball to swing back in has made him very dangerous. His face off with Gayle at the top could be an interesting battle. It will be also interesting to see if RCB can make room for one of Daniel Vettori or Muttiah Muralitharan so they can add variety to the attack.
The Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore have won six matches apiece of the 12 times they’ve met previously. Both teams have got the better of the other at least once in the league phase in each of the past five seasons.
In the 2010 season, the Mumbai Indians defeated RCB by 35 runs in the semi-final match. When these two teams met on day two this season, RCB (playing at home) held their nerves to defend 156 and win by two runs.
Mumbai Indians have a good record batting first this season; they’ve won three of the four matches they’ve batted first.
Both teams will next be seen in action on April 29. While the Mumbai Indians host Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s next stop will be Jaipur where they take on the Rajasthan Royals.