|Game 41 of the IPL sees the Royal Challengers Bangalore host the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday 11 May.|
Following a thrilling one-run win on Monday evening against the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali, the Royal Challengers Bangalore will be keen to continue their push for a play-off place when they go up against the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday.
Can a star-studded Royal Challengers outfit continue their climb up the IPL standings or will the Mumbai Indians get their season back on track with a win over one of the strongest sides in the competition?
To Win Match
Royal Challengers 7/10 | Tie 35/1 | Mumbai Indians 11/10
Royal Challengers Bangalore
I’ve harped on about it all season, and I will continue to do so until such time as it is remedied – the Royal Challengers simply can’t win this tournament until such time that their bowlers step up to the plate. The giants from Bangalore have managed scores in excess of 170 in each of their nine matches this season, but have only claimed four victories. This speaks volumes of a bowling attack which is well out of its depth.
That said, they did perform reasonably well last time out against the Kings XI Punjab – although you can’t really read too much into the bowlers’ solid enough death showing against the Punjabis who sit rock bottom of the IPL standings. Instead of looking at his bowlers, coach Daniel Vettori will need to rely on his star-studded batting line-up if his side is to have any chance of making the play-offs.
AB de Villiers put in a magnificent display against the Kings XI last time out after Virat Kohli and KL Rahul got the Royal Challengers off to a solid enough start putting on 63 for the first wicket before the former was dismissed by KC Cariappa in the sixth. The South African dynamo put in a mesmeric display of power hitting as he charged to a 35-ball 64.
The real star of the show for the Royal Challengers was Shane Watson. His four overs went for just 22 runs while the beefy Aussie all-rounder also claimed the wickets of both Hashim Amla and Murali Vijay. Watson has done magnificently well to revive his career over the last few years after pundits and fans – myself included – thought he was well over the hill.
Looking ahead, I don’t think Chris Jordan should be in this side. The English quick has conceded 95 runs in two games and has only picked up a solitary wicket. He’s clearly not regained his confidence following a disappointing World T20 campaign in which he conceded far too many runs. Other than that, I can’t really see Vettori making any other changes. Chris Gayle’s place in the squad has been taken by KL Rahul, and he doesn’t look like giving it up any time soon with some excellent performances in the last few matches.
The reigning champions have found the defence of their 2015 IPL title quite difficult to date. They currently occupy fifth place on the standings having played one game more than the Delhi Daredevils who sit fourth.
They were comprehensively beaten by 85-runs last time out by the Sunrisers Hyderabad as their batsmen completely and utterly capitulated in the face of the Hyderabad franchises’ 177.Only three players managed to get into double-figures with Harbhajan Singh top scoring with 21 off 22 deliveries. Their bowlers didn’t fare much better either, with Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan going for more than 8.5 to the over while Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya both conceded more than 10 and over.
The Mumbai franchise are far too reliant on their big-hitting opener Rohit Sharma to get their runs. Jos Buttler and Pollard have struggled to make an impact in the middle order while Parthiv Patel hasn’t made any noteworthy scores in and Ambati Rayudu simply hasn’t converted his starts into big scores.
The Indians will be desperate to claim a win over the Royal Challengers who just seem to be turning the corner a bit. If they are to claim victory on Wednesday afternoon, they’ll need a massive performance from Rohit while Buttler and Pollard need to fire lower down the order. Whether or not they’ll be able to do so remains to be seen.
Verdict: Royal Challengers to win at 7/10
The Royal Challengers have a fantastic opportunity to leapfrog the Mumbai Indians into fifth place with a win here. Kohli and his men will know all too well that failure to claim victory here could see their play-off chances all but evaporate. Back the cornered Royal Challengers to claim the win and a vital two log points at 7/10.