Mumbai Indians host Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in what is a crucial game for Vettori’s men. A win in this match will take them to fourth place on the points table ahead of CSK. A loss will put them under severe pressure needing to win 3 of 4 remaining games to be certain of qualifying for the play off round.
Comparatively, MI are comfortably ahead with two more wins than RCB in as many games and after their last ball win against CSK, Harbhajan’s men will be looking forward to playing last year’s finalists.
Tendulkar’s return to form should rung alarm bells in RCB’s camp with their bowlers not too impressive. While Zaheer Khan and Vinay Khan have bowled well in patches they don’t have many wickets to show for the effort. Appanna has been the surprise packet and he has developed a happy penchant for picking up wickets. But skipper Vettori has also not had many wickets and RCB would do well to recruit Muralitharan into the eleven. But with Dilshan having done well in the last match against DC, Vettori has a tough call to make, as he can drop neither Gayle nor De Villiers. The only overseas player to drop to accommodate Murali is Vettori himself.
MI could be tempted to play Dwayne Smith up the order after his bravura against CSK when he struck 14 off the last three to earn his side an unlikely win. If Mi have an area of concern it is in their batting that has looked fragile. The problems start at the top of the order without a settled opening pair. At least six different combinations have been tried and rather than trying out Smith, MI would be better off going with Franklin. Sharma and Rayudu have been inconsistent though both have registered match winning knocks. Pollard’s absence down the order has left a vacuum, while Karthik has failed to convert starts.
But Mumbai have arguably the strongest bowling line up led by the irrepressible Malinga. Harbhajan’s return to form bodes well as does RP Singh’s creditable showing against CSK. Munaf Patel who was consistently among the wickets earlier in the campaign ahs suddenly begun to concede too many runs for comfort. While Peterson has given his skipper an additional bowling often, he is only a stop gap substitute for Pollard.
In the face of their vulnerable bowling, RCB will need their three overseas batsmen to deliver on Wednesday. Gayle will be crucial against Malinga and if the West Indian can fire at the top of the order, MI will find it hard to contain a batting order that has the likes of Dilshan, De Villiers and Kohli.
RCB can neutralise MI’s home advantage by batting first and piling up the runs; for that to transpire they will first need to keep Malinga at bay.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.