RCB hope to end batting lethargy in Mumbai

Posted by

Discussing online with Michael Vaughan, Adam Gilchrist had a point to make about Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) the other day. After Virat Kohli, who tops the RCB and IPL and batting charts with 7579 runs, the second highest Indian scorer for the franchise is Rahul Dravid with 898 runs. Dinesh Karithik is the second among the current lot with 701 runs.

Gilchrist’s observation may be spot-on. Dravid left RCB in 2010, leaving a void in the team’s batting lineup that has yet to be adequately filled. No wonder then that RCB have been chronic underperformers in the Indian Premier League, a fact that is reflected in the millions of sarcastic and satirical memes on social media.

“An interesting point,” said Reece Topley, the RCB bowler from England on the eve of the team’s game against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede. “… because that probably spans different eras and, you know, Mo (Bobat, director of cricket) and Andy (Flower, head coach) weren’t in charge of the side. Yeah, I mean, yeah, but you know, so it can be from my experience that I can’t answer that, you know, I have not been around for 16 years.”

The Englishman continued: “That’s probably something that’s transcended many managements. And Virat’s been consistent for RCB for a long time, which is amazing. And the loyalty that he’s shown to the franchise and also the fans show to him is incredible. But I mean, that’s a question on sort of history and we can only give answers personally for the last two years and more importantly for this season to get us to our goal.”

If lack of runs from the Indian batters has been a problem historically, the batting crisis has worsened this year. Runs have come only from the bat of Kohli, who is the Orange Cap holder with 316 runs. Runs from elsewhere, particularly from the overseas batters, have dried out. Faf du Plessis with 109 runs in five games — 35, 3, 8, 19 and 44 — has not exactly fired at the top of the order and Glenn Maxwell has been a big flop with just 32 runs (0, 3, 28, 0 and 3). Even Cameron Green, the high-profile pre-season trabansfer has not paid dividends so far – mere 68 runs in five matches (18, 3 , 33, 9, 5*).

No wonder then that they are languishing in the bottom half of the table with just one win. Complicating the situation is the fact that they are at a venue and against an opposition where they don’t have an impressive record – they trail 3-7 at the Wankhede. “I wasn’t aware of that. It’s obviously a fresh opportunity tomorrow and I think it’s always dangerous when things haven’t been going so well. We need to put them under pressure and we’ll be doing everything we can to do that,” Topley said.

Mumbai Indians have found their bearings with a convincing win against Delhi Capitals a few days ago and will hope to continue with the momentum. Their problem has been captain’s form, who has been unable to dominate the bowling the way he is otherwise known to. Just 23 runs in 15 balls in the death overs (between 16 and 20) with three dismissals is not a score he is happy about. He has got 108 runs in four games otherwise – (11, 24, 34 and 39). And Tim David said the team has had conversations about it.

“We’ve had conversations about how we played, because, to be honest, Hardik has been playing a really important job for our team. You look at the last match, we struggled really hard for momentum towards the back end and Hardik played really a perfect innings. That set the platform for myself and Romario (Shepherd) to go on with at the end. He got that. We got ourselves to a platform and he got that one ball that he could have hit for six. He hit it high on the bat, missed the middle, he’s out, you know, so that’s how the game goes,” the Australian said.

When:Mumbai Indians vsRoyal Challengers Bengaluru, IPL 2024, April 11, 19:30 IST

Where: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

What to expect: 

With small boundaries and a batting wicket, it should be a high-scoring contest. With high-profile and big hitters in both sides, one could see sixes raining down ceaselessly. With dew being a factor, captain winning the toss may choose to field.

Head to Head:

 MI 18 – 14 RCB. RCB have dominated their Mumbai rivals since 2020, having won five of the seven contests. At the Wankhede, MI lead RCB 7-3.

Team Watch:

Mumbai Indians

Injury/Availability:No injury concerns for MI

Tactics & Matchups: Rohit Sharma will look to capitalise on the early overs from Mohammed Siraj, who has never dimissed the former MI captain in this tournament (53 balls | 68 runs). Rohit might also want to farm the strike against the quick, as Ishan Kishan tends to struggle against him (42 balls | 50 runs | 2 dismissals)

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Hardik Pandya (c), Tim David, Mohammad Nabi, Romario Shepherd, Piyush Chawla, Gerald Coetzee, Jasprit Bumrah [Impact Sub: Akash Madhwal]

Royal Challengers Bengaluru

Injury/Availability: RCB have no injury issues.

Tactics & Matchups:Jasprit Bumrah has been on top of his game this season, but he has a more than able nemesis in Kohli, who has a strike rate of 152.17 against the MI pacer in the tournament. Fasten your seatbelts for an early feisty tussle between the two.

Probable XI:Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis (c), Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Saurav Chauhan, Reece Topley, Mayank Dagar, Mohammed Siraj, Yash Dayal [Impact Sub: Mahipal Lomror or Akash Deep].

Did You Know:

– Glenn Maxwell strikes at 178.02 at the Wankhede stadium

– Jasprit Bumrah has picked 43 wickets in 37 games at the venue

What they said:

“We’re most focused on ourselves. It’s pretty obvious we didn’t play our best cricket in the first three matches and as we start to gain some momentum, this team can get on a real winning run. We’re looking forward to that happening.” – MI batter Tim David.

“The goal is still to qualify for finals and it’s taking each game as it comes. We’re going to do everything we can to win tomorrow and even if things don’t go our way, it’s not impossible to qualify. So I think we’re just going to go about it a game at a time.” RCB bowler Reece Topley.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *