As we head into match 18 of the IPL we have Royal Challengers Bangalore facing off against out-of-form Mumbai Indians.
RCB and MI have been 2 superstar teams and when they face off against each other we have always seen a lot of excitement from the demolition of ABD and Kohli to MI winning it after snatching the victories with some serious power-hitting.
The match will be taking place in Pune and today I will talk about
- How the pitch is acting so far
- Key Matchups
- Important Players
- Some predictions related to the match
- Dream11 Teams
The venue has only seen 3 games so far with an average first innings score of about 180.
The pitch seems to hold up initially which makes the powerplay a hard place to bat in, especially if there are quality pace bowlers present.
Gill’s innings will be the blueprint for how batsmen should structure their innings.
The bounce is somewhat predictable but with the pitch having 2 faces along with the good length causing trouble teams have not really figured out the perfect way to build their innings here.
Playing the long innings is key in any form of the game but in a t20 game the risk-reward factor is proving to be a headache so far, to help their experienced players play longer we have seen batsmen attempt to take on the opposition quickly in all these games with certain failures and success.
Spinners and powerplay bowlers have so far been the most effective bowlers here.
There is enough on offer to keep the batsmen guessing and the seam movement and pace variation initially are proving to be a big headache for all opening batsmen.
Phase Wise Comparision
Powerplay→ RCB’s opening duo so far has been built on their composure and picking out bad balls. MI have the swing of Sams and the clever variations of Mills are what they will be up against.
RCB will clearly win this part of the game as their openers have been very smart in dealing with all kinds of powerplay situations. They don’t risk their wickets and have been scoring at a good rate against all kinds of bowlers. With this pitch, the best way would be to stay put and keep wickets in hand which makes their job easier. MI bowlers have been missing their lengths and unless all of them as a unit have to build up pressure to get any sort of result.
Jasprit Bumrah will bowl in the powerplay which is something RCB have to be careful with. Bumrah produces magic balls at any time we should have a conservative approach against him.
Mi has 2 experienced players in Kishan and Rohit. Willey, Siraj and Akash deep will be the bowlers RCB will use.
MI has been really slow and with the need to play longer innings we might see yet another conservative start from their openers. RCB Pacers have the swing, pace and bounce in their bowlers to trouble these batsmen. With Brevis coming in later the odds are yet against stacked on RCB’s side with only one problem of them leaking too many runs which I will talk about later.
Middle overs→ RCB will be the team to beat in this phase with the Big show back in the XI for this match. Kohli, Maxwell, Willey and Shahbaz against Ashwin, Sams and the part-time bowler.
As I mentioned in my previous article they will cover all bases with Ashwin being mi’s biggest asset. He has switched to unusual lines and is the only bowler who can get those rapid wickets.
Brevis, SKY and Tilak will be the batsmen for MI and if they do manage to win the match it will be because of them. Fearless approach, smart batting and partnerships are the bases this trio covers. They are not scared to step out and SKY’s ability as a batsman doesn’t need any introduction. Hasaranga so far has been a hit and miss with too many bad balls in his spells which the Mi batsmen will definitely take advantage of. Shahbaz hasn’t been able to bowl too many overs and the odds will be stacked against him if he does come on to bowl at this crucial time. Akash deeps last over and pollard being in the XI will force him to bowl out early. Sky’s versatility will be his main problem with the batsmen being skilful enough to move the ball to all parts of the ground.
With these batsmen looking in fine touch I certainly don’t see the RCB bowlers doing anything special in this phase which means MI will walk out as winners.
Slog overs → Dinesh Karthik blew apart Rajasthan as they looked clueless with his masterful batting. Harshal can also help with the bat along with the middle order batsmen pitching in will be against a bowling lineup that loses most of its games in this phase. The bowlers are missing their lengths and for a rare good ball bowled there will be 2 half volleys being bowled.
One can’t be kind to this attack as they are creating problems with their horrific execution.
The mental aspect of this is another troubling factor as Rohit cant bowl out all his bowlers over the fear that it will come back to haunt them in death.
Pollard with a license to demolish is probably the scariest thing for a bowler and this won’t change for RCB. Siraj has proven that he can bowl according to plan but nothing has clicked so far.
Key Players for Both Teams
Mumbai Indians → Jasprit Bumrah, Surya Kumar Yadav
Jasprit Bumrah is a bowler who can trouble any batsman at any point of time. The high pace and accuracy of the highest order are what make him special. If these 2 aspects alone don’t scare batsmen he has been bowling variations that will scare any batsmen.
Rohit’s usage of Bumrah is something that has amazed me so far. It really shows his skill as a captain with his plan. Bumrah’s 4 overs are spread over all across the innings and so far he has managed to create an impact with every single ball. He creates pressure on the batsmen even when they score at a high RPO. He gets wickets of centurions and keeps every batsmen silent in the death.
Rohit’s man-management is something every captain can learn from and Bumrah seems like the only player in their squad who can make a breakthrough and create pressure on the batsmen.
Surya has just returned from an injury but was quick to get back amongst the runs as he has already scored his first 50 of the season. Aggressive against spin and ability to move the ball to all parts of the ground is how Surya scores his runs. Hasaranga has been bowling bad balls regularly and is struggling to find a staple length by being too predictable or bowling bad deliveries in general. Akash deep will have to bowl in the middle, especially with Willey bowling upfront. The excess pace and bounce along with Cummins’s onslaught of pacers certainly mean that if MI wants to target a bowler it will be Akash. Shahbaz hasn’t bowled much to be used as a reliable backup if these bowlers fail.
Royal Challengers Banglore → Harshal Patel and Glenn Maxwell
Harshal continues to impress anyone and will be a crucial player in any team that he plays for but this game will be more important than others for him. MI have a strong opening pair with finishers who can single-handedly win the game. Harshal being asked to bowl from the 9th over would mean that he could potentially be put up against a set opener or the finishers like Pollard. His dot ball pressure along with wicket-taking ability will be a good indicator on who comes out on top as a good Harshal spell would certainly mean that at least 1 part of MI’s batting has been neutralised.
This is in no way from his record against MI last season as I think it’s both pointless and stupid to use those stats as MI has a new lineup with different conditions with their blue jersey being the only common point between these years.
RCB have been losing wickets in the middle over and there has been a slow run rate at this part of the innings. Maxwell will be very important as our opening pair has been able to go at a good rate, Kohli can use the extra time to settle in and the finishers will benefit from a better platform with Shahbaz and DK striking the pacers well. More than Maxwell’s score alone his influence in the middle will make it easier for other players to play their roles in a more efficient manner.
I think RCB head into this tie as favourites for obvious reasons.
If RCB wins the toss I see them having a 65% chance of winning the game and if MI wins the toss it would go down to 55% but with RCB still as favourites.
MI is not a team to take lightly as they have players who can alone cause havoc and with their pacers getting more game time we might also see a better performance.
RCB on the other hand have seen results fall in their favour but have been pathetic so far in the field. Misfields have been on a high and the bowlers are struggling to bowl accurately.
It’s one thing giving runs because the batsmen are better than the bowler on that day but gifting them runs is one thing RCB need to work on.
Siraj has been looking for too much from the wicket and is giving away runs by bowling balls drifting down the leg or with them being too short-pitched.
Record-high extras against PBKS, conceding 30 odd runs to tail-enders and having your star bowler getting dispatched by a batsman who has struggled in an innings have all been done by RCB this season.
RCB need to be smarter with how their bowlers execute their plans and gifting away runs every single game will eventually make them unworthy of any success.
To show how this has affected them, in the game against PBKS we had seen Siraj bowl an expensive powerplay over with too many wides some of which even ran off to the boundary, Hasaranga constantly lost his line and length and would bowl right into the batsmen’s arc leaving them no choice but to dispatch it. The drop catch of Odean Smith along with the other factors cost them the match against PBKS.
Against KKR they were all over their batting lineup but with Shahbaz bowling poor balls to Russell and conceding 30 to their tail-enders with multiple boundaries off the edge of the bat RCB had turned a potential 100-run score into a 129 target which almost cost them the match.
Having put a tight hold on RR, RCB had increased their target with 2 horrendous last overs. Wrong line and lengths along with a no-ball meant that RR had put 20 more runs on the board which really put RCB under pressure before DK came and solved the issue.
RCB had the players to win all these games with their planning but by gifting 20-30 runs every single game so far I just cannot see them making the playoff if this reckless bowling form continues. This is in no way a dig at the captaincy or the skill level of the bowlers as they have been able to bowl good deliveries but careless behaviour is the main problem they need to work on.