Wankhede Stadium is the home and stronghold of the Mumbai Indians. The red soil pitch here always has something on offer for everyone - consistent bounce for the batsman, pace and carry for the seamers and also some spin for the slower bowlers. The last time RCB played at this ground, they lost by 58 runs.
Head To Head:
RCB and MI have clashed 14 times over the seasons so far and honours are shared between the 2. They have both won 7 matches. However, at the Wankhede, RCB have beaten the hosts 2 out of 3 times. Matches between these teams have often been high scoring affairs with some big hitters of high calibre in both the lineups.
RCB played against SRH in their previous match and grabbed a win thanks to the heroics of AB de Villiers. He finally got some runs under his belt by scoring an unbeaten 89(41) against a quality bowling attack. Chris Gayle managed to give some momentum to the batting, but Kohli went for a duck. With Mitchell Starc picking 2 crucial wickets and also holding on to 2 catches, he shone on the field yet again for RCB.
MI faced off against the in-form KXIP and registered their first win of the tournament thanks to some calm aggression in the chase by Kieron Pollard and Aditya Tare. They had their plans on the field and executed them well to keep KXIP within reach and then batted well to eventually win the match. However, constant reshuffles in the batting order indicates uncertainty in the camp.
Preview Of The Teams:
With the reinclusion of Chris Gayle in the side and also the return to form for AB de Villiers, RCB look a much better side now. However, their batting still looks to be their achilles heel with Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli looking out of sorts in the tournament so far. Rilee Rossouw, the replacement for injured nic Maddinson also did not impress much in his debut. However, the return to form for AB de Villiers will be heartening to the RCB camp as he blitzed his way through to take RCB across the line. The bowling attack is well spearheaded with Mitchell Starc doing well on his debut season and Varun Aaron performing better than expected. Yuzvendra Chahal has been the dark horse, causing some problems himself with his orthodox leg-break bowling.
Mumbai face problems with their top order too but with Pollard’s form they know they just need a batsman or two to stick around with him. A good opening stand is what they have been lacking till now, just like the past seasons. With too much experimentation in the batting lineup, there lacks the stability which is needed to win matches on a consistent basis. Corey Anderson is yet to prove his worth in the side, but he has started to show some glimpses of what he is actually capable of. Mumbai Indians will be sweating on Zaheer’s fitness because he incurred a shoulder injury in the previous match against KXIP. Replacing him with an overseas player would mean lot of chopping and changing in the lineup and could possibly disrupt the balance too. Lasith Malinga has been lethal as usual, picking 9 wickets in the 6 matches played so far. Harbhajan Singh has also been good, conceding runs at just 6 an over.
MI have an interesting Caribbean acquisition in Krishmar Santokie this year. If he plays, he can be very tough to put away as he showed in the World Twenty20 for WI. Harbhajan Singh is another player to watch out for, the off-spinner has been good against left handed batsmen and MI could use him as their opening bowler to counter the threat of Chris Gayle. In Lasith malinga, they have the most consistent T20 bowler. His ability to bowl all his variations perfectly is known by all, yet they can do very little about it.
Chris Gayle has been brilliant for RCB in the past 5 games he has played against MI, scoring 287 runs of which 3 individual scores were above 80. AB de Villiers has shown his true colours in the previous match where he won the match for RCB almost single-handedly. His 89*(41) balls showed how he has the ability to switch gears as per the situation. RCB have also got the services of Yuzvendra Chahal - who used to play for MI till the previous season. With his orthodox leg spin bowling, Chahal has posed questions to the batsmen he bowls to and also taken big wickets. In the previous match against MI this season, Chahal picked up the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard.