Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore | Wednesday 20 April | Mumbai | 16:30
Wednesday will throw up one of IPL 2016’s tastiest clashes yet, as the Mumbai Indians prepare to welcome the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a packed Wankhede Stadium.
Can the reigning champions recover from an awful start to the competition or will the pre-tournament favourites get their season back on track after a shock home defeat at the hands of the Delhi Daredevils.
To Win Match
Mumbai Indians 5/4 | Draw 35/1 | RCB 13/20
The Mumbai franchise have suffered the worst possible start to their season after losing three of their first four games. Their task won’t get any easier as they welcome a formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore side to the Wankhede.
I must say that I’m quite surprised at how little the reigning champions have shown in terms of fight and backbone this campaign. Their batting has been well below par while their bowlers have struggled without the indomitable figure of Lasith Malinga leading the attack. They were well and truly outplayed last time out by the Sunrisers Hyderabad, and had it not been for Ambati Rayudu and Krunal Pandya posting scores of 54 and 49* respectively, their mauling at the hands of an unfancied Sunrisers side could have been even more heavy.
I’m not entirely sure who they can even turn to in a bid to change their fortunes. Their openers have – with the exception of Rohit Sharma in the game against the Kolkata Knight Riders – have failed dismally in each of their matches in the 2016 edition of the competition. Lendl Simmons appears to be suffering from a World T20 hangover while Martin Guptill struggled in the only match he’s played to date in the competition. Parthiv Patel has been solid enough without showing the sort of consistency required of an opening batsmen at this level of competition.
The middle and lower order hasn’t really come to the party either when the guys at the top of the scorecard have bombed. Jos Buttler has failed to live up to his pre-tournament hype while Kieron Pollard has only managed two runs in as many innings.
With the batsmen failing, Ricky Ponting is going to need his immensely talented bowling line-up to step up to the mark on Wednesday. Doing so won’t be easy, however, as they’ll be tasked with keeping the likes of Shane Watson, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle quiet on a glorious batting deck.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have played two games so far this season, comfortably beating the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their opening match before a magnificent 51-ball 108 from Quinton de Kock downed them in their second.
They now have the ideal opportunity to make it two wins from three as they take on a Mumbai Indians side who simply haven’t lived up to their illustrious pre-tournament billing. The Bangalore franchise won’t be too upset with their loss against the Daredevils. They played quite well, setting the Delhi side a target of 192 to get from their 20 overs. There isn’t much you can do though when de Kock is in that sort of belligerent mood.
The one concern that Daniel Vettori will have moving forward is the strength of his bowling attack. Adam Milne and Stuart Binny are the only two guys who have extensive experience at international level which means the pressure will be on Parvez Rasool, Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chalal to provide the support needed to keep the likes of Guptill and Rohit quiet.
That said, I do still think the Royal Challengers’ top order could and should propel them the victory over a Mumbai Indians side that is in complete disarray at the minute.
Verdict: Royal Challengers Bangalore at 13/20
While the Mumbai Indians have to come good at some stage in the season’s edition of the IPL, I simply don’t see it happening against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Vettori’s side are far more settled and boast the best top order that T20 cricket has ever seen. Back them to claim a straightforward win at 13/20.
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