IPL 2020: RCB face tough test against Mumbai Indians today
With a win each for both teams, it might look like Even Stevens, but that would be highly misleading
Royal Challengers Bangalore start as rank underdogs against Mumbai Indians. Not because of what happened last season (MI were title winners, RCB finished last), but because how they've progressed so far this season so far.
With a win each for both teams, it might look like Even Stevens, but that would be highly misleading.
After a convincing win over Sunrisers, RCB were badly mauled by Kings XI. KL Rahul's blazing century knocked the stuffing out of RCB.
The worry for Virat Kohli is how far this has damaged the morale of his team. Recovery from such a hammering is not easy. RCB's woes are compounded by Kohli's own poor batting form.
He's hardly looked the marquee batsman he is in either of the two matches played by RCB. While AB de Villiers has looked in good touch, RCB need more from him, Finch and Kohli since the rest of the batting has looked nondescript.
This is crucial, for RCB's bowlers have actually done very well. In fact, the win against Sunrisers accrues to their credit. Leggie Yuzvendra Chahal has been outstanding, Navdeep Saini probing with pace and swing. That provides some cover irrespective of how the pitch plays.
But without a reasonable score to defend against the batting might of Mumbai Indians, their best effort will be inconsequential to the outcome of the match.
Defending champions Mumbai, by contrast, regrouped swiftly after losing to CSK, beating the much vaunted KKR by a whopping 49 runs.
Skipper Rohit Sharma, after an innocuous start against CSK, hit top form, smoking 80 runs with pulls, hooks and cuts that cut KKR down to size. Rohit apart, Surya Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard have all looked in good touch without getting big scores.
Explosive opener Quinton de Kock is straining at the leash. Mumbai also has a rich and varied attack in Boult, Pattinson, Bumrah, Pollard, Chahar and Krunal Pandya which makes it all look rather ominous RCB.
Of course, the T20 format is highly unpredictable and topsy turvy results are hardly unknown. But RCB will have to come up with something special to pull themselves out of their current predicament.
Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator
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