Just when it felt like the top of the table looked too clear, the top three teams in the league lost their respective games while Punjab and Rajasthan’s victory in the recent games opened the table wide open. Apart from Chennai, every team is in the hunt for the playoffs spot while the top teams have yet another battle to sort out.
The top two positions hold a huge significance as far as the tournament is concerned as finishing in those two spots means an extra life to the teams in case they don’t hit the ground running in that game. Things are about to get even more interesting as the four-time champions Mumbai Indians take on Royal Challengers Bangalore for the summit of the points table.
The last meeting between the two saw a fascinating game of cricket as it went until the super over after a fabulous partnership between Ishan Kishan who fell a run short from a ton and Kieron Pollard who proved that he is still lethal for any bowler in the world.
Mumbai’s decision of not sending Kishan to bat in the super over was criticized as Hardik Pandya made a complete mess of the deliveries he faced and that led to RCB winning the tie very easily. The sides will play the 48th game of the tournament at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on October 28.
Head to head
Matches: 28, MI: 18, RCB: 10
Barely anyone would have predicted the disruption of a bowling attack that is certainly one of the best in the competition. Rajasthan Royals especially Ben Stokes made sure that no bowler gets away without a hammering and his strokes reflected how dominant he was on that day. Mumbai Indians will now have to get their A-game as they are now vulnerable to dropping into the third or even fourth spot after Punjab’s latest win against Kolkata.
Mumbai Indians would be hoping that their skipper returns soon as he is out due to a hamstring problem, an injury that cost him the grand tour to Australia. Sharma will have to get back as soon as he can so that he gives the selectors a fair chance to analyze him and get him into the squad. Apart from that Mumbai Indians will not hope to make any changes as the side looks balanced but they just need to work harder on getting the results on the day, something they’ve done very well in the past.
RCB were completely mediocre against the men in yellow and that seemed like a big lapse in judgment by ‘King Kohli.’ He was anticipating a pitch where a total around the 150 mark would suffice but little did he know that the pitch could’ve easily allowed more runs to flow.
As far as his side are concerned, Kohli will not look to make many changes too. However, he may look to get back to his winning combination thereby including Isuru Udana and Mohammad Siraj back in the playing XI. A win here could possibly allow Bangalore to get hold of the top two spots, something Kohli would be eyeing eagerly.
The Abu Dhabi pitch has been producing some exciting games lately, and the same would be expected on a Sunday evening. The sky is expected to be clear and there seem no chances of rain being there too. Mumbai’s recent game at the weekend saw a gigantic total of 194 being chased with ease by Rajasthan Royals.
On the contrary, on some days teams have defended very low totals too as the pitch becomes too slow and the ball does not come on the bat properly. The atmosphere will be pleasant for a game of cricket while the temperature is expected to be on the lower side, around the 30-degree mark. Humidity around is anticipated.
Probable Playing XI:
Mumbai Indians (MI): Rohit Sharma (C)/Saurabh Tiwary, Quinton de Kock (WK), Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, James Pattinson/Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (WK), Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Chris Morris, Mohammad Siraj, Moeen Ali/ Isuru Udana, Shivam Dube, Gurkeerat Singh Mann/Navdeep Saini.
Suryakumar Yadav (MI) vs Mohammad Siraj (RCB)
Suryakumar Yadav has been the man for Mumbai on many occasions and his ability to squeeze runs even in difficult situations is something that makes him different from the other batsmen. Still not considering to be his best decision, Suryakumar has played some very crucial knocks this season that have contributed majorly to the position Mumbai currently holds in the points table.
He will be against Siraj who was on fire in the last game he played. He bowled his best ever spell while he also made a record of becoming the only bowler to bowl two maidens in the history of the Indian Premier League. The battle will be an interesting one as the game will have an intensity of its own and a mistake could cost problems to either side.
Jasprit Bumrah (MI) vs Virat Kohli (RCB)
This will certainly be the battle to look for two of the best in their respective departments go head-to-head. The icing on the cake is the fact that Bumrah is currently on 99 IPL wickets and he would cherish the opportunity to make the Indian skipper his 100th victim in the competition.
Kohli, on the other hand, is now very above in the race of claiming the orange cap but he will need a very good score to get closer to KL Rahul who is currently cruising. The battle between the best will certainly be the best as two phenomenal Indian players battle it to help their team regain the top spot.
Considering Bangalore won the last game between the two this season, Mumbai Indians would want to avoid a double. However, Sharma’s absence will something that would trouble Mumbai as Bangalore have a well-defined bowling line up at the moment.
At the same time, the Bangalore batting has looked vulnerable too. After a loss against Chennai, RCB would be naive about making the correct decisions on the pitch and would hope that things go in their favor on D-day.
Cricwizz predicts Bangalore to win this game.