Mumbai Indians will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in game number 46 of the Indian Premier League at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Both teams go into the match high on confidence. Bangalore absolutely smashed Kings XI Punjab in their last game courtesy Chris Gayle's magic. Mumbai, on the other hand, have been in exceptional form, and extended their winning steak to five matches. This is far from the side that began by losing their first four matches, and the triumph over Chennai Super Kings was a new high for them this season.
Match: Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 46th T20 at Mumbai
Time: Match begin at 4 PM IST | 10:30 GMT
Considering their all-round talent, Mumbai would believe they have a slight advantage over Bangalore. Then again, another Gayle special could throw all predictions out of the window. At the same time, Mumbai have plenty of reasons to be pleased going to the match. They have finally found a stable opening combination in Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel, both of whom have played a role in the team's resurgence. In the last match, Hardik Pandya rose to the occasion smashing game-turning sixes against Chennai. Ambati Rayudu too has been proving his worth down the order.
What would have really pleased Mumbai is the fact that they won against Chennai without the presence of their key bowler, Lasith Malinga, who couldn't travel to Chepauk owing to political reasons. He will be available for the game against Bangalore. Mumbai would needed their match-winners to fire against Virat Kohli's men, and they would feel blessed that they have a number of them. Skipper Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard can turn around matches with the bat. In the bowling Harbhajan Singh has been simply outstanding while Mitchell McClenaghan has filled in nicely for the injured Corey Anderson.
Bangalore have also made their presence felt although they have not been as consistent as Mumbai. Their showing against Punjab was a clear demonstration of how destructive they can be when it is their day. The manner in which Gayle batted was spectacular though not unexpected. It will be difficult to expect him to perform so brilliantly everytime, but if he does he makes the task a lot easier for the others. Kohli and AB de Villiers are match-winners in their own right, but on days when all three fail, Bangalore's weakness has been exposed.
Bowling is definitely one area where Bangalore can test Mumbai. Mitchell Starc has been absolutely brilliant with the ball, picking up wickets both at the start and end of the innings, apart from being miserly. Sreenath Aravind was impressive against Punjab in his first match, and Yuzvendra Chahal, without doubt, has been one of the most efficient spinners on show, as in the earlier editions. Even as Bangalore's inconsistency gives Mumbai on edge, RCB is one team the opponent can never take lightly.
--By A Cricket Analyst