In T20s, the most successful teams win the clutch moments of a game. On occasion, when those teams are behind the game, they have the resources to impact a game through an event – a wicket, a boundary or a run-out, for example. Mumbai Indians have flourished in the IPL through that modus operandi. This season, their resources have helped change games, but they have failed to win important junctures, while defending a target. Mumbai have subsequently slumped to three losses to begin the season.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, on the other hand, have lost two games resoundingly. Their only win, against Kings XI Punjab, was rather comfortably achieved. Like previous seasons, the lack of penetration in their bowling – they conceded 177 against Kolkata Knight Riders and 217 against Rajasthan Royals – and a weak middle order have continued to prove worrisome.
Teams don’t change the entire outlook of a squad early in a season because they recognise the plausibility of having bad days in T20s. It’s still early, but both these teams are quickly running out of room for error.
In the news
Hardik Pandya missed the second game with an ankle injury. He recovered in time for the third game, against Delhi Daredevils, and is available for selection against Royal Challengers.
The likely XIs
Mumbai Indians: 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Suryakumar Yadav, 3 Ishan Kishan (wk), 4 Rohit Sharma (capt.), 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Mayank Markande, 9 Akila Dananjaya, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Brendon McCullum, 3 Virat Kohli (capt.), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Mandeep Singh, 6 Pawan Negi, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Kulwant Khejroliya, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Stats that matter
Krunal Pandya has been able to keep AB de Villiers quiet in the IPL: he has conceded just 33 runs off 32 balls and dismissed him four times in four innings.
Since 2015 in the IPL, Virat Kohli has scored just 230 runs off 193 balls against left-arm pace, at a strike rate of 119.2. Mitchell McClenaghan has dismissed Kohli four times, and has conceded just 19 runs off 28 balls.
Royal Challengers could save Yuzvendra Chahal for Rohit Sharma. Against right-arm legspinners in the IPL since 2015, Rohit has been dismissed nine times in 28 innings. And he has scored 193 runs off 173 balls at a strike rate of just 111.6.
Chris Woakes is a handy allrounder, in any format of the game. In fantasy, he’s an even better addition because he bowls at the death, when batsmen look for high-risk options in their search for quick runs. There is also a chance that he could be bowling to Mumbai’s lower order. Together, that should translate into some wickets and points.
“We’re not down right now. If we’re down now, we should be home. We’ve had conversations about how to finish off games.”
Kieron Pollard on the mood in Mumbai’s camp