IPL: Mighty Mumbai up against solid RCB


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Agencies

Chennai, 27 May 2011: Who would have thought that Mumbai Indians who were looking invincible in the earlier part of the season will have to sweat it out to make it to the qualifying stage while the Royal Challengers Bangalore who were looking down and out after a series of losses would top the table so convincingly? Now the two sides are all set to take each other by the scruff of the neck to claim their worthiness for the May 28 final against the Chennai Super Kings.

Mumbai ensured their clash with Bangalore after winning back-to-back thrillers against the Kolkata Knight Riders, while the Royal Challengers suffered an equally nerve-pulsating defeat against the defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the first qualifier played on Tuesday.

As far as Mumbai’s batting is concerned, their dependability on skipper Sachin Tendulkar is all too obvious now, while the vulnerability of their middle order is the talk of the town.

If the master is unable to give them a solid start, more often than not they find themselves in a spot of bother. Rohit Sharma has played well in patches, while it’s been some time since Kieron Pollard played a knock of any substance. His susceptibility against spinners is well known. Tirumalasetti Suman, too, has failed to find his feet so far.

 

 

The consistency of Ambati Rayudu has been a positive sign for his outfit as the Baroda batsman has shown time and again that he is well capable of taking his side to the finishing line. In James Franklin, Mumbai have got an all-rounder who can bowl his full quota of four overs and score whenever the situation demands.

Mumbai’s bowling revolves around their ace pacer Lasith Malinga, the highest wicket taker so far in the tournament with 28 wickets, Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh.

None of the opposition batsman so far has been able to find out the answer to the toe-crushing yorkers by Malinga, while Munaf has been exceptional with his nagging line and length. Harbhajan’s bowling form has also gone better as the tournament has progressed.

Bangalore, on the other hand, have looked a different team ever since the big-hitting Chris Gayle was drafted in to their squad.

His 519 runs in just 10 outings has changed the fortunes of his side, especially after a cluster of losses early on in their campaign. How the 31-year-old Caribbean batsman fares on the given day will prove decisive for RCB’s chances.

Mayank Agarwal, the opener of the Bangalore-based team has been tried time and again and seems to be a good bet top open alongside Gayle. Virat Kohli’s form has just gone better with each inning he has played, while we are all aware of AB de Villiers’ quality - both as a batsman and a wicketkeeper.

Western Australian Luke Pomersbach, who played a little cameo in the last match, could also be a man to watch out for with his power-hitting ability.

RCB’s bowling has been in safe hands of India’s bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan and their skipper Daniel Vettori. The coming-of-age performance of left-arm pacer Sreenath Aravind has been a breath of fresh air for the RCB

So both the sides look even-steven as far as their strengths and weaknesses are concerned and they both might be tempted to include an extra spinner, Ali Murtaza for Mumbai Indians and Asad Pathan for the RCB, knowing full well that the wicket at the Chepauk tends to favour the spinners.

 

 

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