Royal Challenge awaits struggling Mumbai Indians in IPL (Preview)

Mumbai, April 19 (IANS) Under-confident Mumbai Indians will aim to get back to winning ways when they come up against an explosive batting power of Royal Challengers Bangalore in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday.

After getting off to a losing start to their campaign against Rising Pune Supergiants, defending champions Mumbai came back strongly with a thumping win over Kolkata Knight Riders, but suffered two consecutive loses against Gujarat Lions and Sunrisers Hyderabad to have them tottering in the seventh position in the points table with just two points from four games.

Failure to get their team combination right has resulted in a series of losses for Mumbai.

On the other hand, the Virat Kohli-led Bangalore have only played two games, winning convincingly against Hyderabad but losing to Delhi Daredevils in the last match and sit fourth with two points from as many games.

But on Wednesday, it will be a fresh start for both the sides and Mumbai will look to make the best use of the home conditions and get their third IPL title hopes back on track.

New Zealand’s hard-hitting opener Martin Guptill who made his IPL debut against Hyderabad on Monday failed to make an impact as the right-handed batsman managed only two runs.

Except Rohit’s unbeaten 84 against KKR, the side has been inconsistent with the bat in all three games, failing to post competitive totals which resulted in giving their bowlers very less to bowl at.

Parthiv Patel, despite getting starts failed to convert it into big scores, while Jos Buttler, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya has not been among the runs.

The side’s batting has been too dependent on the skipper and the extra burden on his shoulders proved costly in most occasions this season.

The absence of veteran pacer and death overs specialist Lasith Malinga is hurting Mumbai. The Sri Lankan has been ruled out of the tournament after knee injury.

In the absence of Malinga, Mumbai has been too dependent on Kiwi pacers Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan to give the team an early breakthrough and this combination is expected to continue against RCB.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will aim to get back his form in a ground where he does comparatively well.

On the other hand, RCB’s top four comprising swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle, consistent AB de Villiers, skipper Virat Kohli and all-rounder Shane Watson make an explosive batting line-up.

The West Indian, Gayle who is yet to fire for his team will be anxious to get some runs under his belt in what can be expected a batting-friendly wicket in Mumbai.

Bangalore will hope to get their bowling combination right against Mumbai after being hammered by Delhi opener Quinton de Kock, who scored the first ton in the ongoing tournament.

The squads:

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Lasith Malinga, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Marchant de Lange, Tim Southee, Unmukt Chand, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Shreyas Gopal, Nathu Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Ambati Rayudu, Akshay Wakhare, Deepak Punia, Jitesh Sharma, Kishore Kamath, Krunal Pandya, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad.

Royal Challengers Bangalore:Shane Watson, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli (captain), Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Sreenath Aravind, Kedar Jadhav, Vikramjeet Malik, Kane Richardson, Varun Aaron, Mandeep Singh, Abu Nechim, Adam Milne, Mitchell Starc, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Travis Head, David Wiese, Sachin Baby, Lokesh Rahul, Parvez Rasool, Vikas Tokas, Sarfaraz Khan, Praveen Dubey, Akshay Karnewar

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