Both Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will look to stamp their authority going into the playoffs when they square off in the 48th match of the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Wednesday.
Both sides have 14 points each but MI are top of the table due to their superior net run rate.
MI’s captain Rohit Sharma, who had missed the previous two games due to a hamstring injury, is unlikely to feature in the contest and once again Kieron Pollard will be leading the charge.
The MI top-order comprising Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Saurabh Tiwary are in great form. de Kock (374 runs from 11 games) had failed to click against Rajasthan Royals but the wicketkeeper has been excellent throughout the season.
Their middle-order features Hardik Pandya, Pollard and Krunal Pandya, all of whom have at some point taken the opposition bowlers to the cleaners in the death overs. It was Hardik who starred in their previous match against Rajasthan Royals, smashing an unbeaten 21-ball 60.
Their pacers – Jasprit Bumrah (17 wickets), Trent Boult (16 wickets) have been at their lethal best barring the last game when their side was handed a reality check by Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson.
Apart from them, either James Pattinson or Nathan Coulter-Nile could be their third pacer while the spin workload will be shared by Rahul Chahar and Krunal.
RCB too have an injury issue as their pacer Navdeep Saini suffered a split webbing and his participation remains doubtful.
RCB opener Aaron Finch (236 runs) is yet to have a big innings while young opener Devdutt Padikkal (343 runs) has been the find of the season for them. AB de Villiers (324 runs) and captain Virat Kohli (415 runs) have meanwhile provided the goods after the openers.
All-rounder Chris Morris and Gurkeerat Mann would be expected to chip in with some fireworks in the lower-middle order.
With Saini’s uncertainty, Mohammad Siraj, who was quite expensive against Chennai, will be looking to get back his rhythm as their opposition has some quality batters in their ranks. Isuru Udana and Morris would also need to deliver with the ball while the onus of the spin attack will be on Washington Sundar and experienced Yuzvendra Chahal.
Both the sides are coming after suffering defeats in their respective last games. The last time the two sides met earlier in the season, MI lost in the Super Over.