The year 2020 has been full of firsts. In a first, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is being organized behind closed doors in a bio-secure bubble. In another first, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have missed a chance to qualify for the IPL playoffs. And now, for the first time, 16 points won’t guarantee a team a playoff berth! All the top three teams on the table currently sit on 14 points, and Kings XI Punjab’s victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders means that five teams can potentially end up with 8 wins (or 16 points): the usual threshold for qualification.
Two of these top three – Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore – will lock horns on Wednesday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. And given the above situation, no team would breathe easy just yet. Meanwhile, a barely positive net run rate for the RCB camp must be a reason for them to worry, as that is precisely the tie-breaker for the next-stage qualification. Mumbai Indians, too, in the absence of Rohit Sharma, need to be situationally aware after two losses in the last three games.
MI faced a morale-crushing 8 wicket defeat at the hands of Rajasthan Royals in their last fixture, where their bowling unit had a rare off day. MI, however, must be immensely thankful to Hardik Pandya’s late acceleration, whose 21-ball 60 led them to post 195 on the board. Although, their star-studded battery of bowlers was taken to a task by the might of centurion Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson, who smacked a dominant half-century.
On the other hand, the RCB is not much different and is entering after suffering a loss by an identical margin of 8 wickets by the Chennai Super Kings. Featuring in the green jersey, RCB hardly had any green signals for them after the batsmen managed to only reach 145 after the conclusion of their 20 overs. In what was an equally misfiring performance with the ball, they could dismiss only two opponent batsmen, and CSK managed to chase it down well within the 20 overs to dent RCB’s net run rate further.
With clouds of uncertainty looming large over the head of all the teams regardless of their position, both Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore would want to make things easier for them when they meet each other.
Also Read: MI vs RCB Dream11 Fantasy Team Prediction
Pitch and conditions
Despite posting a massive target in the last game, MI was unable to defend. If the last game is any indicator, the track did not appear slow one bit. That said, MI’s average score at Abu Dhabi has been over 185, and they have enjoyed their time here. The heat has reduced considerably over the last week, and the players will find it much easier in the coming times.
Playing Combinations for MI vs RCB
Rohit Sharma’s unavailability due to an injured hamstring has not hurt MI thus far, although they would want him to be back in the ranks before they enter into the most crucial leg of the league. With 374 runs at 41.55 and 4 half-centuries under his belt, Quinton de Kock can say he has had a nice IPL so far.
In Rohit’s absence, Ishan Kishan will continue to partner de Kock, whereas Saurabh Tiwary will take his role in the middle-order alongside Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, and Kieron Pollard. Barring the odd occasion in the last game, where the bowlers were unable to leave an impression, the duo of Bumrah and Boult – who have bagged 17 and 16 wickets respectively – have been lethal both at the front and at the death.
Probable XI- Quinton de Kock (WK), Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard (C), Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, James Pattinson.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
For the Challengers, skipper Virat Kohli, currently the 4th highest run-scorer with 415 runs at 59.28 in 11 innings, would want to continue in the same vein as before alongside AB de Villiers (324 runs), and openers: Aaron Finch (236 runs) and Devdutt Padikkal (343 runs). Moeen Ali has not got many chances to make any notable contributions thus far, and he would be keen to make his presence felt.
Chris Morris has chipped in well with both bat and ball, and he might have a bigger role to play in case Navdeep Saini, who split the webbing on his right hand while fielding in the last game, misses out. RCB might bring in Umesh Yadav in Saini’s absence, whereas Mohammed Siraj will be the third pacer.
Probable XI- Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (WK), Moeen Ali, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Chris Morris, Navdeep Saini/Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj.
MI vs RCB Head to Head
Played- 28 | MI won- 18 | RCB won- 10 | NR- 0
Match Timings- 7:30 PM (IST), 6:00 PM (Local).
TV– Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 1 Hindi
Live Streaming– Disney + Hotstar VIP
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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