It was a paradoxical start for two flamboyant franchises of IPL - both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians were outdone by their opponents in their tournament openers. Mumbai extended their dismal streak of losing their opening game by another year while RCB dug a whole out for themselves on a Chepauk dustbowl. However, locking horns against each other in the Chinnaswamy stadium, both sides will be eyeing to gain some momentum and wash out the previous disappointment, which includes the gloomy memories of the preceding season as well.
Heading into the game, RCB does not have much to take from their past history against Mumbai Indians. They have won only 39.1% of their games against Mumbai - their second worst win percentage among all IPL sides (after Chennai Super Kings) and at home, no other side has dominated them more than Mumbai - a win percentage of only 22.2.
After being one of the best batting tracks in IPL for 5 seasons between 2012 and 2016, the Chinnaswamy suddenly turned into a low and slow track in the 2017 season. But last year, the pitch produced the best run rate (8.90) among all the grounds that hosted more than 1 game.
Yuzvendra Chahal has hinted the Bangalore track to show its old traits and we might see quite a few runfests at the stadium this season.
Powerplay v Death Overs
The contrasting performance of both sides in the powerplay can come down to play a significant role in the output of this game. Lying behind Mumbai in most aspects of the game historically, the first 6 overs is where Bangalore holds an edge over their nemesis - especially with the ball.
Focusing on the stats of the previous season, there is not much to differentiate between both sides in terms of economy rate (RCB 7.90, MI 8.04) but the home side have struck more frequently. RCB had a S/R of 20.1 while MI struck at a rate of 28.1 balls per wicket.
Umesh Yadav had the best strike-rate during the powerplays among the bowlers who took more than 10 wickets in the 2018 IPL. In RCB’s two encounters against Mumbai last season, they took 5 wickets within the first six overs in both games combined and Umesh scalped 4 of those dismissals pegging the opposition back.
RCB will need to make a big impact within the first six overs given how thin they are in the bowling department during the death. Owing to Bumrah (economy of 7.9 in the death), Mumbai were one of the better bowling sides in the death last year conceding only at 9.31 runs per over (the third best) while RCB leaked runs at 11.65 per over (the worst by a margin).
Just like most of the bowlers in the world, Virat Kohli has stamped his authority over one of the white-ball bowlers at present - Jasprit Bumrah as well. It will be an intriguing battle to watch regardless of which point of the game they come up against each other.
For a batsman who has dominated the left-arm orthodox spinners, it is quite mysterious why AB de Villiers has repeatedly faltered against Krunal Pandya. Mr. 360 degree has been dismissed every time he has faced Krunal in IPL - 4 out of 4.
RCB will be tempted to play Tim Southee which means Siraj/Saini and Grandhomme/Moeen Ali will have to be benched.The availability of Wahsington Sundar - a like for like replacement for Moeen Ali can see Grandhomme keep his place in the XI.
Lasith Malinga has joined the squad on the matchday and might not get a game straight away. Adding more variety to their bowling line-up by replacing Rasikh Salam with Mayank Markande seems to be the only possible change in Mumbai’s XI.
Players To Watch Out For:
The big man may not have been the same for Mumbai over the last two seasons but has always loved his time in the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Pollard averages 45 in the stadium, his best among all venues where he has played more than 5 IPL games, to complement a strike-rate of 152.