The Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will be keen to seal their play-offs spot as they face each other in game 48 of IPL 2020 at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Both MI are RCB find themselves in a similar position with 14 points from 11 matches so far. The winner of today’s contest will become the first team to qualify for the IPL 2020 playoffs.
Question marks and intrigue remain over the injury status of MI skipper Rohit Sharma. On one hand, he was not named in any of the three squads for the Australia tour. On the other, he was seen practicing hard in the nets in a video posted on the Mumbai Indians’ social media handle.
#1. Quinton de Kock vs Mohammed Siraj
Even amid all the uncertainty surrounding Rohit Sharma, MI's opener and experienced wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock has stood tall. His consistency has ensured that Mumbai have gotten off to confident starts more often than not.
In 11 IPL 2020 matches, de Kock has amassed 374 runs at a strike rate of 143.29 with four fifties. His ability to hit over the top with ease in the power play overs has been a big boon for MI.
On a high after being chosen for the tour of Australia, RCB pacer Mohammed Siraj will look to celebrate his selection with yet another good performance in IPL 2020. It was at Abu Dhabi that Siraj rattled the Kolkata Knight Riders with a sensational bowling effort of 3 for 8.
He will be confident as RCB return to the venue of their most recent victory in IPL 2020. It will be a challenge for Siraj to come good against the prolific de Kock, but if the ball moves around a bit, de Kock too can fall.
#2. AB de Villiers vs Rahul Chahar
While Virat Kohli, not surprisingly, has been RCB’s top run-getter so far in IPL 2020, it has been AB de Villiers who has been the most destructive for his team. In 11 IPL 2020 games, the former South African captain has cracked 324 runs at a sensational strike rate of 174.19.
On more than one occasion, he has single-handedly pulled RCB out of troubled waters with some spectacular hitting. In the last couple of games though, de Villiers has been a bit subdued. He will be eager to put in a good performance in the high-profile IPL 2020 clash against MI.
Young leg-spinner Rahul Chahar has been the silent warrior for MI in IPL 2020. Varying his pace and teasing the batsmen, he has managed to pick up an impressive 13 wickets in 11 matches at a strike rate of 18 and an economy rate of under 8.
Chahar’s attitude towards batsmen, even when attacked, has proved to be his greatest asset. There is no doubt he will be the underdog in the clash against the multi-dimensional de Villiers, but one would be ill-advised to write Chahar off.
#3. Hardik Pandya vs Chris Morris
In the slog overs, MI all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been an absolute revelation for the franchise in IPL 2020.
Pandya has rocketed his way to 224 runs in the 123 balls that he has faced at a strike rate of 182.11 so far in this year's IPL. In the loss to the Rajasthan Royals, Pandya scored a brutal 60 not out from only 21 balls with the aid of seven sixes. His confidence will be sky high when faces the RCB bowlers.
Bangalore all-rounder Chris Morris has brought in some much-needed versatility to the RCB camp in IPL 2020 after recovering from an injury. In six games, he already has 10 wickets to his name at a strike rate of 14.20 and an incredible economy rate of 5.74.
He has been particularly lethal with his yorkers in the death overs and is likely to pose a major challenge to Pandya’s boundary-hitting prowess. The MI all-rounder, though, has the ability to turn yorkers into boundary balls with his innovative feet at the crease.Published 28 Oct 2020, 15:08 IST