Five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians’ poor form, which has plagued them from last season, is something which has become a cause for concern for skipper Rohit Sharma. The side’s crucial match against a Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on song at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium later on Saturday, could well decide in which direction the star-studded MI are headed in this edition of the IPL.
Having lost all three matches this season despite having one of the best support staff and recovery specialists, MI would be banking on the positive record against the RCB, having won 17 of the 29 games played thus far with RCB winning 11 and one ending in a tie, which RCB won in a super-over.
Having said that, RCB have got the better of Mumbai Indians in three of the last five games, and with new skipper Faf du Plessis marshalling his side — and the South African having also played a couple of good knocks at the top — it gives the team from Bengaluru the momentum going into the crunch game.
Veteran wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik’s match-winning 23-ball unbeaten 44, which came at a time when RCB were in a hopeless situation against Rajasthan Royals, also gives the team the self-belief that it can come back from any situation and win if they have wickets in hand.
Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has been among the wickets for RCB — he picked four against RR — whilst also being economical. Harshal Patel has continued from where he left off last season.
For Mumbai Indians, young Tilak Varma has been a shining light with crucial knocks in all three games while Dewald Brevis showed no nerves on debut last time out. Suryakumar Yadav too played a blazing knock against Kolkata Knight Riders in the last game, indicating he is fit and ready to take on the burden in the middle overs.
Tymal Mills has consistently picked wickets in all phases while Basil Thampi and Murugan Ashwin have also been impressive.
If he plays, this will be Surya’s 200th T20 match overall. He also needs one more six to complete 50 for MI in the IPL, while two big hits will fetch 150 T20 sixes.
Skipper Sharma needs five boundaries to complete 500 fours in the IPL and if he does so, he will become the fifth batter to reach this milestone. He also needs five sixes to complete 200 sixes for MI.
Jasprit Bumrah, with 24 wickets, is the highest wicket-taker against RCB in the IPL and Mumbai Indians would be counting on him to add to that tally. It has been a tough season so far but MI have the wherewithal to turn around their fortunes at any given time.