Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will face the unpredictable Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the 10th match of IPL 2020 in Dubai today. The match will see a clash between the Indian captain Virat Kohli and the limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma - two of the biggest superstars in the country today.
Both MI and RCB go into the match with one win and a loss apiece. MI went down in the tournament opener to the Chennai Super Kings before knocking down the Kolkata Knight Riders with a typically professional effort.
RCB registered a surprise victory over a struggling Sunrisers Hyderabad before running into an in-form KL Rahul against Kings XI Punjab.
Going forward, both teams will be seeking consistency. MI have the upper hand over RCB, having won 18 of the 27 encounters between the two teams. As the teams get ready for battle, we analyse three player battles that could be pivotal to the contest.
#1. Rohit Sharma vs Navdeep Saini
After a false start against Chennai, MI skipper Rohit Sharma was back in his element against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Sharma eased his way to 80 from 54 balls, putting the ragged KKR attack to the sword.
Sharma’s six-hitting ability is legendary, and was on display in the match against Kolkata as well when he slammed a total of six maximums. He will be high on confidence as MI prepare to face RCB.
Sharma seems to have the upper hand in the contest against the relatively inexperienced Navdeep Saini. Then again, the IPL has the ability to throw all logical possibilities out of the window.
Take the case of Rajasthan Royals’ Rahul Tewatia against KXIP, who went from villain to hero in a matter of minutes.
As for Saini, he can bowl quick and possesses a good yorker as well. However, the RCB bowler will have his task cut out for him against the MI skipper. But all Saini needs is good delivery or a false stroke to pick up a wicket.
#2. Virat Kohli vs Jasprit Bumrah
RCB captain Virat Kohli had arguably his worst day in the IPL against KXIP. Not only did he drop his opposite number KL Rahul twice in two overs, but he also failed with the bat, scoring only 1 run.
Kohli then watched as his team capitulated to a 97-run defeat. RCB has experienced similar meltdowns many times in past editions but Kohli will be keen to stop the rut early this season. He will be expected to make amends with a Kohli-like innings on Monday and there is no reason why he shouldn't.
One of Kohli’s toughest challenges in the match will come against Jasprit Bumrah. Bumrah, India’s number one bowler across formats, can not only bowl quick but can be deadly accurate as well. His unplayable yorker is already legendary and more significantly, he has the habit of claiming crucial scalps.
The same was evident against KKR when he dismissed Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell. In the same match, though, he was also smashed for four sixes in an over by Pat Cummins. There is thus no reason why the RCB batsman cannot come out on top against Bumrah, provided he picks and chooses his deliveries.
Also see:- IPL standings
#3. Yuzvendra Chahal vs Kieron Pollard
One hopes this face-off takes place for it promises to be an enticing battle. RCB leggie Yuzvendra Chahal has been the team’s best bowlers by some distance and he has perplexed batsmen with his smart bowling tricks.
In the game against SRH, Chahal completely turned the match around, dismissing the big guns in Manish Pandey and Jonny Bairstow. Even in the contest against Punjab, when all the other RCB bowlers were flayed by Rahul, Chahal stood his ground and gave away very little.
MI veteran Kieron Pollard has made a name for himself over the years as one of the most dangerous hitters in the league. On his day, the West Indian limited-overs skipper can dismantle the best of bowling attacks, with his ability to clear the field with ease.
Pollard will have to be careful against Chahal, though, who will have plenty of tricks up his sleeve. This cat-and-mouse contest could have a major impact on the result of the game as it will mostly take place in the death overs.Published 28 Sep 2020, 17:18 IST