With the fight for the top four spots heating up, it will be Mumbai Indians (MI) taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Match 48 of the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Both MI and RCB have 14 points from 11 matches and a win in this game will seal a place for either in the playoffs. However, both teams are coming into this contest on the back of big defeats and will have to recover quickly. The previous time these teams met was in Dubai and it was RCB who nicked the encounter via a Super Over.
In the IPL, the two teams have clashed 26 times, with MI winning 16 of them. In fact, they have an edge even in recent contests, having won three out of the last five clashes.
HEAD-TO-HEAD IN IPL
Overall: Matches – 26 | MI – 16 Wins | RCB– 10 Wins
Last 5 matches: MI – 3 Wins | RCB – 2 Wins
Suggested TeamsWhile you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com's Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms we come up with six different teams that could fetch crucial points.
The Sheikh Zayed Stadium has hosted 16 IPL 2020 matches and there is something for both batsmen and bowlers on this surface. Bowlers concede at an economy rate of 7.9 – the lowest among the three venues – but at the same time, a wicket has fallen every 23 balls, which is the worst.
The average first innings score at the venue is 163, which is the lowest among the three stadiums, but the average second innings score of just 149 would indicate that teams will be better of batting first and putting runs on the board.
However, in the last five matches in Abu Dhabi, teams chasing have won thrice, while teams batting first have won twice, including a Super Over win.
Like the other two venues, pacers have dominated, picking up a huge percentage of the wickets, but it is the spinners, who have kept the runs down and created pressure. Pacers have a better runs per wicket ratio (29.9) and balls per wicket ratio (21.8), compared to spinners, whose corresponding numbers are 30.9 and 25.4.
The last two games at the venue saw similar first innings totals put up. While Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) romped home to a 59-run win, MI were blown away by Rajasthan Royals (RR) that saw them succumb to an eight-wicket loss.
While one thought that the pitches are becoming drier by the match in the tournament, the one in Abu Dhabi has certainly come to life. Both teams have quality spinners and it would be advisable if you could have at least two of those tweakers in your fantasy side, just to be on the safer side. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, James Pattinson, Trent Boult, Chris Morris and Mohammad Siraj could be among your fast bowling options.
There could also be a few interesting match-ups to look forward to.
Two in-form players Quinton de Kock and Yuzvendra Chahal have been on top of their games this season, playing a huge part in their respective franchise’s success. While Chahal is the highest wicket-taker among spinners, de Kock is the leading run-getter for MI. It was Chahal who dismissed MI’s wicketkeeper in the previous encounter in Dubai, making it the fourth instance in six innings. While Chahal has the upper hand in the battle, de Kock can take solace from the fact that he has been dismissed just twice by leg-spinners this IPL, scoring at a strike-rate of 116.1 and average of 32.5.
Chris Morris seems to be RCB’s solution in the death overs and his services could once again be required when he comes face-to-face with Kieron Pollard, who he has dismissed thrice in 10 T20 innings. Known to be a big-hitter at the death, Pollard has not got the better of Morris till date, scoring just 39 off 34 deliveries. With this being a crucial fixture, Pollard will hope to do much better.
Krunal Pandya has dismissed AB de Villiers on four occasions – all coming in four continuous innings between 2016 and ‘17. De Villiers has been wary of Krunal since and has scored 18 off 15 but has never given the MI allrounder his wicket. Krunal will hope to get back his lost touch against de Villiers in this game.
Despite a rare failure against Rajasthan Royals (RR), Quinton de Kock has been MI’s most consistent batsman for some time now. He has four fifties from his last seven innings and will look to extend his good run in this match. He is the leading run-getter (374) for MI and is in the top five among leading run-getters as an opener in IPL 2020. The fact that he hits a boundary every 5.1 deliveries and has a safe pair of gloves behind the wicket should further prompt you to hand him the captaincy.
According to our Criclytics Player Projector, de Kock could score 15-38 runs in this match.
Former KKR captain and two-time IPL winner Gautam Gambhir too has picked de Kock as his captain. Here is a look at the rest of his team:
With 10 wickets at 13.6, strike-rate of 14.2 and economy rate of under six, you surely cannot ignore the sort of impact Chris Morris has had on RCB this season. For years, RCB have yearned for someone who can shine at the death and they have finally found an answer. Out of his 10 wickets, seven have come at the death and he strikes every 7.4 deliveries in that phase, which is the best after Kagiso Rabada, who picks up a wicket every 7.1 deliveries between overs 16 and 20 (minimum – eight overs bowled).
According to our Criclytics Player Projector, Morris could score 9-26 runs and pick up 0-1 wickets in this match.
While MI possess the talents of James Pattinson and Jasprit Bumrah, it is Trent Boult who has more often than not gotten MI off to a brilliant start. He has 10 Powerplay wickets this season, which is the most and is also among the top five wicket-takers in the tournament with 16 scalps which is further indication of his consistency.
According to our Criclytics Player Projector, Bumrah could pick up 1-2 wickets in this match.
No spinner has more wickets than Yuzvendra Chahal (16) this season. While leg-spinners like Ravi Bishnoi and Varun Chakravarthy have found more success with googlies, Chahal prefers regular leg-spin balls, which has fetched him 13 wickets this season already. It is his variations in pace that has been pivotal to his success this season. He has taken at least one wicket in the last six innings and with one or two batsmen susceptible against spin in the MI ranks, we could see Chahal step up to the plate and deliver once again.
According to our Criclytics Player Projector, Chahal could pick up 1-2 wickets in this match.