IPL 2022: Royal Challengers Bangalore start as favourites against Mumbai Indians

The team’s only got stronger with Glenn Maxwell and Josh Hazlewood, members of Australia’s T20 World Cup-winning team joining the squad

Glenn Maxwell of Royal Challengers Bangalore. — BCCI
Glenn Maxwell of Royal Challengers Bangalore. — BCCI

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 12:08 AM

Last updated: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 12:11 AM

Mumbai Indians against Royal Challengers Bangalore has been one of the marquee matches in the Indian Premier league since inception, featuring some of the best names from Indian and international cricket. In the past few years, the Virat Kohli versus Rohit Sharma batting rivalry has added a tangier flavour to the contest. It is arguably the biggest draw in the league and has provided some outstanding knocks and entertainment for fans. Both players, now searching for their best form, gives an exciting dimension to this match.

Where the teams are concerned, RCB are ahead of MI in this tournament, having won two out of three matches. Big runs from Faf du Plessis and Kohli are still awaited, but RCB have been able to find the player for the occasion. This was highlighted magnificently in the match against front runners Rajasthan Royals when Dinesh Karthik and Shahbaz Ahmed took the team to an improbable win with a sensational counter-attacking partnership.

After failing to defend 205 against Punjab in their opening match, RCB’s bowling has shown marked improvement too, with Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Wanindu Hasaranga getting among the wickets. The team’s only got stronger with Glenn Maxwell and Josh Hazlewood, members of Australia’s T20 World Cup-winning team joining the squad.

Mumbai meanwhile, (like CSK) are struggling for survival in IPL 15. The five-time champions have looked undercooked, unsettled and vulnerable. While the inability of new recruits to swiftly adjust and settle in quickly has obviously been a factor in the poor performances, the failure of senior pros to come good has perhaps been the bigger problem.

Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah to an extent, have lived up to expectations. But Rohit Sharma has been way below his best, and Kieron Pollard has hardly looked the match-winner of old. The failure of Sharma and Pollard particularly, has hurt badly. MI haven’t been able to a get a good start or finish strongly as in the past. Teams playing MI are generally fearful of suffering at the hands of these two. This season that threat has been muted.

On current form, RCB start as favourites. The onus is on the former champions to prove pundits wrong.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator

Players To Watch Out For:

MI: Surya Kumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Jasprit Bumrah

RCB: Virat Kohli, Harshal Patel, Dinesh Karthik

X Factor: Rohit Sharma

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