An AB de Villiers-less Royal Challengers Bangalore slumped to their fifth loss of the tournament as the Knight Riders narrowly-trumped the home side in yet another disappointing result for Virat Kohli & his men. The Mumbai Indians happen to be in a very-similar situation, they’re just about equal with RCB on the points table having gone through a pretty-bleak run of form themselves in IPL 11. It’s sixth versus seventh tomorrow night, and quite frankly it’s anyone’s game.
Another game, another loss for the deflated-Royal Challengers Bangalore who just can’t seem to string any wins together despite some of their marquee players firing on all cylinders. On top of that, they missed a golden opportunity to defeat a Kolkata Knight Riders side that were coming off back-to-back losses in the tournament, and they almost got the job done despite missing their overseas-superstar AB de Villiers who was struck down by viral fever prior to the match. It may sound like a bit of a copout, but the loss of de Villiers in that game inevitably lost them the match no matter how you look at it, his form coming into the Kolkata clash was surreal. Hopefully the South African human highlight reel has recovered & is available for team selection tomorrow, simply because his influential knocks at the top of the order in 2018 (despite RCB losing a big percentage of games) has kept them in the game for longer than they should have been. AB is averaging 56 and has accumulated three fifty-plus scores in only six matches, he’s going at 50% in terms of scoring fifties in IPL 11 which is simply amazing, but in the same context that’s probably where Bangalore have fallen flat on their face. The constant-reliance on both de Villiers and Virat Kohli really does leave them vulnerable when they need others to stand up, Kohli is averaging a brilliant 63.40 and is having another solid individual tournament, but it’s not reflective of the team’s performance unfortunately. Apart from Mandeep Singh who has been the closest to both RCB’s dynamic-duo, the batting seems to be hinging on those two guys performances. It doesn’t help that their bowling ability comes in a distant-second to their batting; both fast bowler Umesh Yadav and leggy-Yuzvendra Chahal have done their best to impact matches with the ball, but all to no avail with opposition teams targeting the Royal Challengers in that area of their game so far & succeeding.
What a difference a win can make in the IPL, which was the case for Mumbai on Saturday where they knocked off the first-placed Chennai Super Kings (at the time) thanks to an all-round feast in the runs department from the top three batsmen who really have set the standard for the remainder of the competition. The most notable of them being skipper Rohit Sharma who was possibly on the biggest dry spell he’s ever encountered when it comes to scoring runs in the IPL, that was all quickly-forgotten with a match-winning half century which no-doubt lifted the teams spirit heading into this next match. Last time these two teams met, it was Mumbai who came out of this match victorious thanks to a captain’s knock from Rohit scoring a tantalizing 94 as RCB went on to concede 213 runs that day, they well & truly delivered the knockout blow earlier than expected that day. It was great to see some of Mumbai’s batsmen scoring runs again, both Rohit Sharma and Evin Lewis who have lacked consistency in IPL played pivotal roles in their win against the Super Kings recently. Suryakumar Yadav continues to impress ever-since he replaced the skipper in the opening position, averaging a tick over 39 with the bat in 2018 he’s been an excellent pickup from the Knight Riders who would be wishing they held onto him. I’m not alone when I say a large portion of Mumbai Indians supporters were screaming for JP Duminy’s inclusion into the starting XI, and they got their wish albeit not playing a huge part in the win against Chennai. Duminy is the type of player who is good for the long run, consistency is his name and scoring is his game! The South Africans ability to bat anywhere in the order makes him a huge asset as well. Kiwi quick Mitchell McClenaghan has bounced back superbly after being dropped from the side after their season opener, McClenaghan has made a positive return to the Mumbai XI bagging seven wickets in his past four games. Let’s not forget that the Mumbai Indians are the reigning champions of the IPL, and given that their bowling attack trumps RCB’s by quite a margin, there’s a possibility they could walk away from Bengaluru with back-to-back wins.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Royal Challengers Bangalore | 31st match | Bengaluru
- Virat Kohli
- Yuzvendra Chahal
- Umesh Yadav
- AB de Villiers
- Quinton de Kock
Wildcard pick – Murugan Ashwin
Top 5 fantasy picks | Mumbai Indians | 31st match | Bengaluru
- Suryakumar Yadav
- Mitchell McClenaghan
- Hardik Pandya
- Rohit Sharma
- JP Duminy
Wildcard pick – Krunal Pandya
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The big news heading into this match will be the availability of AB de Villiers, if he’s recovered from that viral fever he’s a certain starter in RCB’s XI. If de Villiers is fit & ready to go again, that begs the question – will RCB field a team featuring all four of Kohli, de Kock, de Villiers and McCullum? They were certainly set on doing it at the start of the tournament, but the need for an all-rounder forced McCullum out of the side for a total of three games. All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme could possibly make way in order for McCullum to stay in the side as the extra specialist batsman. They might want to stick with this newly-formed bowling attack for a while as well; Washington Sundar and Chris Woakes have already been given an opportunity in the first half of the tournament.
Australian BBL phenomenon Ben Cutting seems to be under the pump 24/7 to maintain his spot in the side after an average performance, he’s only featured in two games out of a possible seven for Mumbai and could be dropped yet again. After registering a win against the classy-Chennai Super Kings, it’s unlikely that Mumbai will make many changes, if any for tomorrow night’s match against the Royal Challengers.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible) – 1. Quinton de Kock (wk) 2. Brendon McCullum 3. Virat Kohli © 4. AB de Villiers 5. Mandeep Singh 6. Manan Vohra/Pavan Deshpande 7. Murugan Ashwin 8. Tim Southee 9. Umesh Yadav 10. Yuzvendra Chahal 11. Mohammed Siraj.
Mumbai Indians (possible) – 1. Suryakumar Yadav 2. Evin Lewis 3. Rohit Sharma © 4. JP Duminy 5. Ishan Kishan (wk) 6. Hardik Pandya 7. Krunal Pandya 8. Ben Cutting/Kieron Pollard 9. Mitchell McClenaghan 10. Mayank Markande 11. Jasprit Bumrah.