Defending champions, Mumbai Indians, will have an opportunity to open their account when they take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Match 5 of Pepsi IPL 2014.
Rohit Sharma’s team appeared a rusty unit in their season opener against the Kolkata Knight Riders. They allowed KKR to post 163 on the board and then fell short by a massive 41 runs with none of their batsmen playing a much-needed long innings to power the run-chase.
Royal Challengers Bangalore were barely challenged in their season opener. Their bowlers were clinical and incisive, shredding through the Delhi Daredevils’ top order in quick time. And their batsmen, led by Yuvraj Singh and skipper Virat Kohli, made light work of the run-chase to help RCB coast to a comfortable eight-wicket victory.
Saturday, April 19, 2014, 4 pm IST
Dubai International Stadium, Dubai
Though it was the bowling attack that set up the match for RCB in their last outing, the biggest positive for the team was the return to form of Yuvraj Singh – the most expensive player in the 2014 Pepsi IPL Player Auction. Put together, Yuvraj, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Kohli and Albie Morkel make up, perhaps, the most formidable top order in the league. Even if one of the top five gets going, chances are RCB will have a field day. One can only imagine the plight of the bowlers if more than one of these hard-hitters has a big day at the office.
Mumbai Indians received a lot of criticism for their batting order in the previous match. With an innings restricted to just 120 deliveries, it is a must that the best batsmen in the line-up get to face as many deliveries as possible. MI must keep this principle in mind and use Kieron Pollard better than they have for the majority of his tenure with the team. Hussey (at the start of the innings) and Rohit (in the middle stages of the innings) will be key characters too.
Notes from previous match
Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders: The Mumbai Indians will have to be mindful of the fact that despite getting an early breakthrough, they allowed Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey to stitch together what turned out to be a match-winning partnership. The team needs to be aware that in this format of the game, even one partnership can sway the course of the match decisively. MI will also be aware that their spinners – Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha – came in for a lot of stick and failed to get a wicket in the combined seven overs they bowled.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils: RCB bowled 10 extra deliveries – nine wides and one no ball – in their previous match, and that lack of discipline was the only glitch in what was otherwise a perfect outing.
There have been 13 meetings between RCB and MI, and the latter have a slight edge with a 7-6 win-loss record. When the two teams met last season, both teams won their respective home matches; RCB won by a slender margin of two runs at Bengaluru, while MI registered a convincing 58-run win at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
MI’s Rohit Sharma and RCB’s Chris Gayle are placed second and third respectively in the list of top run-getters in the IPL. Rohit has scored 2540 runs, while Gayle has 2512 runs to his credit.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will be seen in action next on April 24 when they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders at Sharjah. The Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, will stay put in Dubai where they will take on the Chennai Super Kings on April 25.