Having suffered disappointing defeats, both Mumbai Indians and RCB will hope to invoke their powers of bouncebackability on Wednesday. The two IPL heavyweights meet at the Wankhede Stadium in a crucial IPL 2016 match.
While this will only be RCB’s third match of the tournament – and their first away from home — MI will be playing their fifth game, which means there will be a little more at stake for the defending champions, who have started off the season with three defeats in four.
MI are still searching for their best combination, with the decision to send Rohit Sharma down the order in the last game, a loss to the Sunrisers Hyderabad, not quite working out. With a readymade wicketkeeper in Jos Buttler in the lineup, the Mumbai Indians might be better off going with a middle order batsman in the place of Parthiv Patel, whose problem is that he cannot bat anywhere but the top.
While Patel is adept at giving decent starts, he very rarely goes on to make a big score, and what the Mumbai Indians require at the moment is a solid base at the start of the innings. The potential opening partnership of Martin Guptill and Rohit is something that will make the bowlers wary and the Mumbai Indians need to take advantage of that fact rather than going for the safer, ok-at-least-we’ll-get-30-odd-runs-and-the-middle-order-will-be-stronger option.
At the end of the day, both Rohit and Guptill, who is expected to keep his place from Kieron Pollard and potentially Corey Anderson, despite a failure on debut, are match-winners and what MI need to most at the moment are batsmen who can go on and make an 80 or a 90.
But, coach Ricky Ponting hinted Rohit is likely to stay at No.4, suggesting Parthiv will continue at the top of the order.
Batting has been the problem for the champions this season, with all three of their defeats coming as a result of poor performances with the willow. With the Hardik Pandya at No.3 experiment not working at all, Ambati Rayudu was sent in at the position in the last game, and Ponting suggested the India batsman would play there for the remainder of the season.
There are no batting worries for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who posted big totals in both their matches, courtesy brilliant knocks from Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers. However, there will be extra pressure on the two right-handers to fire in this match against MI in Mumbai, owing to the fact that Chris Gayle will be missing. The West Indian has flown back home to the Caribbean after his partner gave birth, and will miss the next two matches.
Travis Head looks like being Gayle’s replacement, with Shane Watson possibly going back to the top of the order to open the innings with Kohli.
In the bowling department, RCB might ponder making a few changes. Adam Milne could come back in for David Wiese, who ended up being quite expensive with the ball, which would then open up a place for Stuart Binny to return to the playing XI, for either Sreenath Aravind or Harshal Patel. Varun Aaron might also fancy getting his first game of the season.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (probable) 1 Virat Kohli (capt), 2 Shane Watson, 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Travis Head, 5 Sarfaraz Khan/Stuart Binny, 6 Kedar Jadhav (wk), 7 David Wiese, 8 Parvez Rasool, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Varun Aaron/S Aravind
Mumbai Indians (probable) 1 Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Rohit Sharma (capt), 5 Jos Buttler, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Mitchell McClenaghan, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Jasprit Bumrah