Two teams that have shown the promise but failed to deliver on big occasions come face to face when Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) clash in their opening match of the Indian Premier League here today.
With Ricky Ponting as captain this time, Mumbai would be hoping to lay their hands on the IPL trophy for the first time. In the batting department, Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma would be looking to continue their good form the previous season as they amassed 333 and 433 runs respectively. Also Ponting would be an asset at number three. Dinesh Karthik would give solidity to the middle-order.
Boasting of three prolific wicket-takers — Lasith Malinga, Pragyan Ojha and Munaf Patel — Mumbai Indians look a well-balanced side. However, Mumbai’s spinners were disappointing in IPL 5 with Harbhajan Singh hardly making any impact. He scalped six wickets in 17 matches, while Ojha claimed nine wickets in as many matches.
RCB, on the other hand, will take the field with the young Virat Kohli leading the team. Known for being diffident in the initial stages, RCB have swashbuckling characters like Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan and A B de Villiers, who can turn the game on its head in a jiffy.
Kohli is not too far behind having been RCB’s leading run-getter (1639), but their over-dependence on Gayle has been a nightmare for the team.
RCB’s main worry is their bowling with Zaheer Khan making a comeback from a calf injury. Speedster Ravi Rampaul along with senior pros like Muttiah Muralitharan, Daniel Vettori and Murali Karthik, are expected to bolster RCB attack.PTI