“Two giants of the game – Tendulkar and Kallis – come together when Royal Challengers and the Mumbai Indians meet in Bangalore on Saturday.
Venue and Conditions:
The first game of the day takes place at the M Chinnaswamy stadium as the Bangalore Royal Chargers host the Mumbai Indians. The average first innings score at the stadium is 166, suggesting that it is not an easy track to score on. However, that average is dragged down by Rajasthan’s abysmal tally of just 92 all out earlier in the tournament and Bangalore’s reply of 93 without loss in 10.4 overs provided evidence that there are no gremlins in the pitch.
• Mumbai have suffered the least run-outs in the competition – only four to date in 12 matches.
• Kallis has scored ten fifty-plus scores in the IPL (all seasons), Tendulkar is joint-second with eight.
• Across all three IPLs, Harbhajan Singh has been the stingiest bowler, conceding an average of 6.41 an over. Anil Kumble is a close third, with 6.52.
• Bangalore has been the most boundary-happy venue this year, with 57.66% of the runs scored there coming in boundaries. Only Cuttack has a higher ratio – 59.76%.
• Mumbai have been the best batting side in the last six overs, scoring at 11.04 an over.
This is Bangalore’s final round robin match and victory will certainly guarantee them a place in the semi-finals. They have made hard work of it so far and they could still miss out though their net run rate makes that unlikely. Seven wins and six defeats puts them level on points with the Daredevils and the Chargers but they are well ahead on run rate and a win here would be a giant stride towards securing second place and a home semi final.
They head into this game on the back of a comfortable victory in Rajasthan on Wednesday during which their bowlers were particularly impressive on a slow pitch. They are unlikely to make any changes which will give youngster Pankaj Singh another chance to shine.
This is Mumbai’s penultimate game but they are already assured a place in the semis with nine wins and three defeats. They are assured of topping the points table and therefore a home semi final. They made four changes after their win against Rajasthan for the game against Delhi on Tuesday and the squad rotation worked as they notched yet another win. Lasith Malinga could return and bring his miserly economy rate back to the bowling attack.
Likely Top Batsman:
Jacques Kallis, who was out for a duck last time, rarely puts together back-to-back failures and he will be keen to get back on track with a decent score. Kevin Pietersen scored a sparkling 62 against Rajasthan and he, along with Robin Uthappa and Kallis, will dominate the Bangalore batting.
For Mumbai, one man is always at the head of affairs, Sachin Tendulkar, but Kieron Pollard produced a whirlwind batting performance against Delhi, suggesting that he is about to hit top form.
When the sides met in Mumbai in match #14, RCB ran out comfortable winners by seven wickets. Overall in IPL Bangalore is leading with 3 wins and 2 defeats.
RCB will be wired into the requirement to stake a claim for a home semi. They have beaten Mumbai away from home earlier in the tournament and they get the nod to win this in front of their home crowd.
Bangalore probably just shading favoritism because they need this win more than Mumbai. Both sides are in great nick but if Mumbai rotate their bench again they may lose their momentum.
RCB’s home support is tremendous and we have still to consistently see the best of the likes of Ross Taylor. Kumble and Steyn of those who bowl regularly have an economy rate of under 7 per over and there could be room for improvement in the some quarters of the bowling department.