Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore face acid test very early into IPL 2018

Winless Mumbai Indians will pit their might against formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore in an adrenaline-charged Indian Premier League match at Mumbai.

By: | Updated: 17 Apr 2018 08:30 AM

One struggling with their bowling like any other season, the other, desperately searching for lady luck. Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore – two of the mightiest teams in IPL – are at the crossroads very early in the tournament, with answerless questions looming large in front of both.

When they take on each other on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium, it will be a battle to reinstate their stake in the league.

Mumbai, though will be more desperate. Having ended up on the wrong side on all three of their encounters, the defending champions are as clueless as the experts of the game.

"Three games in a row, we have lost in the last over. If you guys have any idea to tell us how to get over the line, if it happens again, you guys obviously know a lot of cricket, so, give us an idea of what to do," Pollard asked scribes on the eve of their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Both the games held here so far have gone down to the wire and on both occasions MI have had their chances to go across the line and fumbled on the doorstep against Chennai Super Kings in the season opener and then Delhi Daredevils.

In between they had also lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad in their first away game of the season, so that the three-time champions led by Rohit Sharma are placed at the bottom of the eight-team table.

MI had been in worse situations before recovering poise to become eventual champions.

RCB started off on the losing note away from home to Kolkata Knight Riders, brought their campaign on track immediately with a convincing victory over Kings XI Punjab at home and then lost a high-scoring game to Rajasthan Royals at home yesterday.

RCB's bowlers, especially Umesh Yadav who had broken the back of KXIP innings with a three-wicket burst in one over, went for plenty against the Royals who set up the highest total so far of the season, 217, by riding on Sanju Samson's blistering 45-ball 92 not out.

After the pace trio's profligacy RCB need to set right their bowling woes as MI possess a strong batting line up that threatened to score over 200 in their previous game before the Daredevils bowlers restricted them below that threshold.

Barring leggie Yuzvendra Chahal, who bowled brilliantly to grab 2 for 22, the other RCB bowlers had an off day against the Royals.

But on the positive side was the encouraging return to form of captain Virat Kohli who struck a quick-fire 57.

With a batting line-up boasting of Brendon McCullum, Kohli and A B de Villiers, no target will look insurmountable for the visitors, and three-time champions MI will be aware of this.

MI's batting, on the other hand, failed to rocket off in the first two games and when it clicked the bowlers lost the plot.

The move to promote local guy Suryakumar Yadav has been a success but their best batsman, skipper Rohit, is yet to make a big contribution with the bat.

The Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal along with giant West Indian Kieron Pollard too have not made big impacts in the first three games.

Rookie leg spinner Mayank Markhande has been their most successful bowler with good economy rate along with Mustafizur Rehman, but Jasprit Bumrah has also not lived up to his tag of the world's best white ball bowler.

MI have replaced injured Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins with New Zealander Adam Milne and will be looking up to a comprehensive combined show to avoid a fourth straight defeat of the season.

Teams (from):

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma(c), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Evin Lewis, Saurabh Tiwary, Ben Cutting, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Tajinder Singh, Sharad Lumba, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Mayank Markande, Akila Dhananjaya, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Brendon McCullum, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Kulwant Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Manan Vohra, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Corey Anderson, Parthiv Patel, Aniruddha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee

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First Published: 17 Apr 2018 08:30 AM
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