When Mumbai Indians travelled to Bengaluru in the first week of IPL-12, the clash between outfits led by Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma lived up to its billing. However, the thrilling finish was overshadowed by the no-ball controversy.
The fans in Mumbai will hope that quality — and not controversy — trickles down to the Wankhede Stadium on Monday. With the IPL entering its second half, there are plenty of reasons for the home team to be wary of Kohli’s team.
Having been up against the two bottom-placed teams in three days, Mumbai Indians would be aware that the opposition teams will play freely than it as reflected during its shock defeat to Rajasthan Royals.
MI will be more jittery going into the clash, given the fact that bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore finally managed to register its maiden win on Saturday with valuable contributions from Kohli and A.B. de Villiers,
Both Kohli and de Villers have played quite a few scintillating knocks at the Wankhede in the past and MI would know that the two cannot be allowed to get their eye in.
In this respect, MI will desperately be looking for meaningful support to Jasprit Bumrah in the pace department, especially at the death.
Alzarri Joseph’s dream IPL start with a six-for has been followed with the young Caribbean being taken to the cleaners in the last two games. It won’t be surprising if MI bring in the experienced Lasith Malinga in his place for the key clash.
If Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar, the two specialist spinners for MI, can match the wicket-taking abilities of RCB’s leggie Yuzvendra Chahal in the middle overs, the home team will heave a big sigh of relief.
Despite the loss against Royals, Mumbai Indians was heartened to see captain Rohit and Quinton de Kock fire at the top. The captain and the Protean will have to deliver if MI has to start the fortnight-long away stretch on a positive note.
For RCB, despite notching up a win, Kohli’s cavaliers are far from being in contention for a spot in the PlayOffs. The lack of pressure may well continue to work for the visitors.
It will be interesting to see if RCB gives another opportunity to all-rounder Shivam Dube at his home ground.