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MI vs RCB, IPL 2019: Virat Kohli and Co face Mumbai, hope to reignite 2016 spark

In 2016, RCB won only two of their first seven matches before registering six victories in seven games to storm into the playoffs.

cricket Updated: Apr 14, 2019 20:06 IST
Ankit Kumar Singh
Ankit Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
MI vs RCB,IPL 2019,Virat Kohli
Rohit Sharma captain of the Mumbai Indians and Virat Kohli captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore.(BCCI Image)

After suffering six consecutive defeats, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) finally tasted victory against hosts Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League on Saturday. Though they are still at the bottom of the points table going into Monday’s match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium, RCB will seek inspiration from how they turned things around after a similar run till the halfway stage three years ago.

Also Read: Virat Kohli speaks about equation with AB de Villiers

In 2016, RCB won only two of their first seven matches before registering six victories in seven games to storm into the playoffs. They won their playoff against Gujarat Lions too before losing to the David Warner-led Sunrisers Hyderabad in a thrilling final.

ONUS ON KOHLI-AB

At the heart of RCB’s transformation that year was skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Kohli, adjudged player-of-the-tournament then, topped the batting charts with a tally of 973 runs at an average of 81.08 and a strike rate of 152.03. De Villiers was the third highest run-getter (687 runs, avg 52.85, S/R 168.80).

Compared to 2016, both batsmen have succeeded only in patches this season. Kohli has scored 270 runs at an average of 38.57 and de Villiers 232 runs at 46.40. However, on Saturday, both clicked together and it resulted in RCB’s first win. Going ahead, RCB reprising their 2016 heroics will again depend on how these two perform in the remaining games considering that no other batsman (Marcus Stoinis though has played only four games) averages more than 28 this season.

HOSTS’ SEASONED DUO

If RCB’s fortunes have revolved around Kohli and de Villiers, an analysis of Mumbai Indians’ performances reveal that their rise and fall has depend a lot on skipper Rohit Sharma and big-hitting Trinidadian all-rounder Kieron Pollard.

Also Read: Kohli fined Rs 12 lakh for maintaining slow over-rate against Kings XI Punjab

In 2013 and 2015 when MI won the title, Rohit and Pollard were among the team’s most consistent performers with the bat. Rohit amassed 538 runs at a strike rate of 131.54 in 2013 and followed it with 482 runs at a strike rate of 144.74 in 2015, Pollard tallied 420 runs at a strike rate of 149.46 in 2013 and 419 runs at a strike rate of 163.67 in 2015. Pollard played a key role in Mumbai’s triumph in 2017 as well with a tally of 385 runs at a strike rate of 139.49.

This season though, neither has been at his best. Pollard played a match-winning knock against KXIP a few days ago, but failed to make an impact in the other five innings. Rohit got starts on a couple of occasions but is yet to produce a match-defining knock this season.

Against a struggling RCB attack though, both can hope to come good and keep the side on track for a place in the play-offs.

First Published: Apr 14, 2019 18:36 IST