Aakash Chopra hopes Smriti Mandhana ends her half-century drought in the Royal Challengers Bangalore's (RCB) WPL 2023 clash against the Mumbai Indians (MI).
The two sides will lock horns at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai in the afternoon game on Tuesday, March 21. The Delhi Capitals (DC) will face the UP Warriorz (UPW) in the evening game at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
While previewing the RCB-MI clash on the "AakashVani" show on JioCinema, Chopra expressed hope of Smriti Mandhana ending her tournament on a positive note, saying:
"Sophie Devine - she is batting amazingly well. Smriti Mandhana - she should score one 50 at least, it has not happened until now. Hayley Matthews will be in front of her here as well, but it will be good if she scores runs."
The former Indian opener pointed out that although RCB have two of the top run-getters of the tournament, they endured a dismal run due to the lack of potency in their bowling, elaborating:
"Ellyse Perry has scored runs there. In fact, if you talk about the top five run-getters, you will see Sophie Devine and Ellyse Perry, but the team didn't reach anywhere because they have not picked up wickets."
None of the RCB bowlers have picked up more than five wickets in the tournament. Renuka Singh, who was bought for a whopping ₹1.5 crore, managed to pick up just a solitary wicket in six games and was even dropped from the playing XI for their previous game against the Gujarat Giants (GG).
"There are a lot of advantages of finishing at No. 1" - Aakash Chopra says the Mumbai Indians need to beat RCB
Aakash Chopra highlighted that a win against RCB will be crucial for the Mumbai Indians, reasoning:
"Mumbai need to register a win because you have lost two consecutive matches. It will be better if you register a win with a good margin so that you can ask Delhi to win with a bigger margin in the last game. There are a lot of advantages of finishing at No. 1."
The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Harmanpreet Kaur and Co. would not want to head into the business end of the tournament with negative momentum, stating:
"In any case, you don't want to go to the playoffs or the eliminator with three back-to-back losses. To avoid that, you will have to play better cricket, which you have not done in the last two matches. It is still a fantastic team, so I am expecting them to play well."
Chopra concluded by predicting a MI win against RCB, reasoning that they are the better team. However, he added that just a victory might not suffice and that they would want to win by a big margin to put pressure on the Delhi Capitals.
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