As the race to the playoffs hots up, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians will look to get their campaign back on track. Both sides have started the UAE leg of the IPL with consecutive losses. A win will put the winning side on course for a last-four berth. RCB are currently placed third while Mumbai have slipped to the sixth spot.
Given the subplots, this contest goes beyond the win, loss and position on the points table. It pits the current India captain, Virat Kohli against Rohit Sharma, his deputy and the heir apparent of the T20 captaincy, which Kohli is set to relinquish after the World Cup next month.
Both will look to prove their acumen. At the other end, spinner Rahul Chahar, who was picked ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal for the World T20 extravaganza, will have a point to prove against the big guns who line up to fire for RCB. Chahal, still smarting from the pain of being left out of the national squad, will have to pull himself together after two below-par performances in the UAE, especially since he has been the backbone of RCB’s bowling attack for so long.
The Jasprit Bumrah vs AB de Villiers contest will be a riveting match-up much like that of Keiron Pollard against Glenn Maxwell.
While Mumbai are habitual winners who often find ways to pull themselves out of the woods, RCB will have to quickly find a way to land on the other side on the result, having lost seven matches on the trot in the UAE.
In the loss against CSK the other night, RCB started well with openers Kohli and Padikkal stepping on the pedal but slowed down after 10 overs. The bigger cause for concern will be the middle order, which again crumbled without a fight against CSK. The bowling attack too looks far from potent at the moment.
Mumbai too have their share of woes. Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan will feel the pressure to perform, more so after having made it to the India T20 squad for the World Cup. The tournament will be played at the same venues, so finding form will be crucial.