Mumbai Indians’ campaign is faltering early once again in the IPL, and Rohit Sharma & Co will have to be at their best in order to halt Royal Challengers Bangalore’s charge when the two sides meet in Mumbai on Wednesday. MI are yet to get their combination right. Their top batsmen are failing to fire in unison and the bowlers have severely underperformed. So far, all their experiments have gone awry. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad, they made Parthiv Patel open the innings with Martin Guptill and keep Rohit Sharma at No. 4. Another try that didn’t yield the desired result.
On such form, the last thing you’d want is to run into RCB, a team whose batting has by far been the best among all teams this season. As expected, Virat Kohli is in his unstoppable best with two half-centuries, and AB de Villiers has supported him with a couple of fifties of his own. Then they’ve also got Shane Watson and Sarfaraz Khan in the ranks. You wouldn’t want to be Mumbai Indians at this point.
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Date: April 20, 2016
Time: 20:00 IST
Weather: Partly cloudy with temperature touching 33 degrees Celsius.
Provided Kieron Pollard, who was out injured in the last match, is fit enough, he should instantly get his place back in the side. Jos Buttler looked all over the place against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Hence it may not be a bad option for MI to have him replaced by Martin Guptill since they already have Patel to keep wickets.
Probable XI: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Parthiv Patel (wk), 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Rohit Sharma (capt), 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Mitchell McClenaghan, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Royal Challenger Bangalore
RCB do not have problem with the batting line-up as their top three batsmen (Kohli, de Villiers, Watson) are in good form. It is safe to say there is no more intimidating top three in the IPL. Their main worry is their bowlers, as they failed to contain the batsmen of the opposite camp. They will be without Chris Gayle, who has flown back to Jamaica for the birth of his first child.
Either Adam Milne or Kane Richardson seem ideal replacements considering their bowling needs to strengthen. Also, Harshal Patel has leaked a lot of runs. There is also a chance of him being dropped for either Stuart Binny for Varun Aaron.
Probable XI: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Virat Kohli (captain), 3 AB de Villiers (wk), 4 Sarfaraz Khan, 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 David Wiese, 7 Parvez Rasool, 8 Stuart Binny/Harshal Patel/Varun Aaron, 9 Adam Milne/Kane Richardson, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Sreenath Aravind
“I have learned a lot from last year to this year. In between there was the under 19 (World Cup tournament) and I was able to learn from Rahul sir (Dravid). I am getting more experience and am able to learn more as Shane Watson too has come into our team.” — Sarfaz Khan on his learnings with RCB
“Rayudu has excelled when he had batted down the order for MI. Rayudu also batted well at No.6 earlier with Pollard so we had only option to give Hardik (Pandya) to bat at No.3. But the experiment for us at No.3 didn’t work. So we put Rayudu at No.3 when Rohit decided to bat at No.4 and Rayudu played very well in the last game. So Rayudu will stay at No.3 for next few games.” — Mumbai Indians coach Rocky Ponting insists on having Rayudu bat at No. 3.