RCB aim to keep winning momentum going

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Bengaluru (PTI): Royal Challengers Bangalore will be looking to take the confidence from their last night’s nerve-wracking one-run victory when they clash with Mumbai Indians, who suffered a humiliating defeat in their previous game, in an IPL match here tomorrow.

Currently lying at a lowly sixth position in the points table, a win will be crucial for the Royal Challengers to keep their hopes of making the IPL playoffs alive.

Snapping the three-match losing streak with back-to-back victories against Rising Pune Supergiants and Kings XI Punjab is expected to hold them in good stead when they play at their own backyard at the Chinnaswamy stadium here.

In fact, their victory in a nail-biting finish over Kings XI Punjab in Mohali last night should give the Bangalore outfit a lot of confidence.

A loss tomorrow, however, will land them in big trouble and it would become tougher for them to enter the playoffs.

All eyes once again will be on skipper Virat Kohli, whose performance in the ongoing IPL has left oppositions dumbstruck. He is leading the batting chart with 561 runs so far, which includes two centuries and four half-tons.

Besides the captain, RCB have also been relying heavily on their star batsman A B de Villiers. The South African proved his prowess yet again last night when he hit a 35-ball 64 to guide the team to a competitive 175. Opener KL Rahul (42) also chipped in with important contribution.

Rahul and all-rounder Shane Watson have proved to be important cogs in Bangalore’s wheels with some crucial knocks.

With the likes of Chris Gayle warming the bench, the Royal Challengers perhaps have the most intimidating batting line-up, but their pedestrian bowling attack has failed to defend 180-plus scores in most of the matches.

Their two best performers with the ball have been Watson and Yuzvendra Chahal but the likes of Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron and Chris Jordan have all leaked runs.

Come tomorrow, RCB bowlers would have to put up a much better performance to support the team’s batting department.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians would be keen to make quick amends from their humiliating 85-run defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad in their previous match.

Placed fifth in the table with 10 points, Mumbai Indians have a great chance of displacing Delhi Daredevils from number four position in the table and entering the top-four bracket with a win against the home team here.

A loss will put Mumbai Indians under tremendous pressure as they would need to win their remaining three games after tomorrow’s match, which would be very tough given that they will have to get acclimatised to their new home venue, Visakhapatnam.

The last time the two teams met, Mumbai Indians had defeated the Royal Challengers, and the Rohit Sharma-led side would hope to repeat the feat.

Rohit has been leading the team from the front with 388 runs so far, hammering five half-centuries. Ambati Rayudu and Parthiv Patel have also stepped up whenever their captain has failed to do the job.

Mumbai have big-match player Kieron Pollard in their ranks to guide the team to a domineering position with his lusty blows.

As far as bowling is concerned, Mumbai have been depending on their pace attack when it comes to restricting the rival teams.

New Zeland’s Mitchell McClenaghan has been leading the attack, having claimed 14 wickets so far to be placed third in the top-wicket takers’ list. Others in Jasprit Bumrah and Tim Southee have taken 11 and seven wickets, respectively to be the next best bowlers for Mumbai.

In the spin department, old warhorse Harbhajan Singh (seven wickets) and the Pandya brothers — Hardik and Krunal (three wickets each) — have also contributed to the team’s success.

Teams (from):

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (C), Varun Aaron, Abu Nechim, S Arvind, Samuel Badree, Stuart Binny, Yuzuvendra Chahal, AB De Villiers, Praveen Dubey, Chris Gayle, Travis head, Iqbal Abdulla, Kedar Jadhav, Akshay Karnewar, Sarfraz Khan, Vikramjeet Malik, Mandeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Lokesh Rahul, Parveez Rasool, Kane Richardson, Sachin Baby, Vikas Tokas, Shane Watson, David Wiese, Chris Jordan, Tabraiz Shamsi.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Mitchell McClenaghan, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Tim Southee, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, R Vinay Kumar, Corey Anderson, Unmukht Chand, Marchant de Lange, Siddhesh Lad, Kishore Kamath, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia, Nitish Rana, Jitesh Sharma, Nathu Singh, Akshay Wakhare, Martin Guptill.

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