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Winless MI take on formidable RCB in high-octane clash

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
By S S Ramaswamy

Mumbai: Winless Mumbai Indians will pit their might against formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore in an adrenaline-charged Indian Premier League match here today.

Both teams, with a plethora of explosive batsmen, are yet to find their feet in the T20 league and would be keen to gather some momentum with a victory here at the Wankhede Stadium.

If MI have their problems to sort out, having lost at the death in all three games so far, RCB too have their own shortcomings to address with only one win in three games under their belt.

Both the games held here so far have gone down to the wire and on both occasions MI have had their chances to go across the line and fumbled on the doorstep – against Chennai Super Kings in the season opener and then Delhi Daredevils.

In between they had also lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad in their first away game of the season, so that the three-time champions led by Rohit Sharma are placed at the bottom of the eight-team table.

MI had been in worse situations before recovering poise to become eventual champions.

RCB started off on the losing note away from home to Kolkata Knight Riders, brought their campaign on track immediately with a convincing victory over Kings XI Punjab at home and then lost a high-scoring game to Rajasthan Royals at home yesterday.

RCB's bowlers, especially Umesh Yadav who had broken the back of KXIP innings with a three-wicket burst in one over, went for plenty against the Royals who set up the highest total so far of the season, 217, by riding on Sanju Samson's blistering 45-ball 92 not out.

After the pace trio's profligacy RCB need to set right their bowling woes as MI possess a strong batting line up that threatened to score over 200 in their previous game before the Daredevils bowlers restricted them below that threshold.

Barring leggie Yuzvendra Chahal, who bowled brilliantly to grab 2 for 22, the other RCB bowlers had an off day against the Royals.

But on the positive side was the encouraging return to form of captain Virat Kohli who struck a quick-fire 57.

With a batting line-up boasting of Brendon McCullum, Kohli and A B de Villiers, no target will look insurmountable for the visitors, and three-time champions MI will be aware of this.

MI's batting, on the other hand, failed to rocket off in the first two games and when it clicked the bowlers lost the plot.

The move to promote local guy Suryakumar Yadav has been a success but their best batsman, skipper Rohit, is yet to make a big contribution with the bat.

The Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal – along with giant West Indian Kieron Pollard too have not made big impacts in the first three games.

Rookie leg spinner Mayank Markhande has been their most successful bowler with good economy rate along with Mustafizur Rehman, but Jasprit Bumrah has also not lived up to his tag of the world's best white ball bowler.

MI have replaced injured Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins with New Zealander Adam Milne and will be looking up to a comprehensive combined show to avoid a fourth straight defeat of the season.

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