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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

IPL 2018: Mumbai Indians favourites against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore

Mumbai Indians will look to get their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign back on track when they face Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bangalore on Monday

cricket Updated: May 01, 2018 15:04 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Bangalore
Mumbai Indians will be confident ahead of their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Mumbai Indians will be confident ahead of their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore.(AFP)

Virat Kohli may be the Indian cricket team skipper and probably the most powerful player in Indian cricket, but it is his opposite number for Tuesday’s game who knows how to win Indian Premier League (IPL) titles.

Rohit Sharma, skipper of Mumbai Indians, who clash with Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday, has won three IPL trophies. Virat, on the other hand, has failed to lay hands on even one.

RCB’s best under Kohli has been a runner-up finish two seasons ago. Back then they looked a dangerous side with power-hitters at the top and a decent bowling unit that had a quality all-rounder or two. Not much depended on local Indian players as the imports along with Kohli were just too brutal.

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This time though RCB are finding how local Indian players, that have driven other teams like Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past and even this season, are important to an IPL side.

With the foreign stars, aside of AB de Villiers, not being extraordinary, RCB’s local Indian players have been found wanting.

Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, Sarfaraz Khan, M Ashwin and Mohammed Siraj have struggled not just with their primary skill but also when fielding while even Umesh Yadav leaked plenty on Sunday.

What makes their opponents on Tuesday, Mumbai Indians, favourites going into the crucial game is the balance of the side, especially with the presence of two all-rounders in Pandya brothers Hardik and Krunal.

RCB, on the other hand, have been playing musical chairs with Colin de Grandhomme and Corey Anderson and both haven’t been useful especially with the ball, something that Shane Watson was when he was here.

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MI’s bowling also looks much tidier than RCB’s with the likes of Mustafizur Rahman and Jasprit Bumrah around. Their Indian component has been holding them up with bowler Mayank Markande being the pick bagging the most wickets and Krunal continuing to be effective.

Suryakumar Yadav has been among runs while Ishan Kishan too has chipped in. If anything, they just need to worry about Kieron Pollard whose form is probably why MI are at sixth, just one spot above RCB.

But as their previous game showed, their bowling can be the difference. By restricting CSK to a gettable total, the bowlers made it possible for batsmen to ensure victory.

This is the last round of the first half of the league and a win is important for both teams. As Brendon McCullum said on Sunday night, “we’ll be on the road for a few matches after Tuesday’s, so it will be important to get a win under the belt. We only have made it tough for ourselves”.

First Published: Apr 30, 2018 17:31 IST