Bangalore: Barring the opening encounter, the first round of the IPL has seen one-sided mismatches, but Tuesday's second game offers the prospect of a much closer clash. Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore are two of the strongest sides in the tournament, possessing plenty of power-hitters, who are backed by world-class bowlers.
Mumbai rode on Lasith Malinga's brilliance against Delhi Daredevils in a match that was rendered a no-contest. The small chase allowed the Mumbai top order to spend some time in the middle; Sachin Tendulkar eased to an unbeaten 46 while Rohit Sharma got a start.
The Bangalore attack of Daniel Vettori, Zaheer Khan and Dirk Nannes will provide a stiff challenge but the key will be how their batsmen handle Malinga. Especially for batsmen who haven't seen much of him, Malinga's yorkers, delivered from a very low height, can be unplayable. Fortunately for Bangalore, this isn't the case for the core of their line-up. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kolhi, AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary have faced Malinga sufficiently enough to be used to his unique style. He will nevertheless be difficult to get away, but they could look at how Virender Sehwag handled him in Delhi, even playing out a maiden when it was required.
Andrew Symonds missed the opening game after injuring his shoulder in a fall, and Mumbai opted for James Franklin as their second overseas allrounder along with Kieron Pollard. Symonds, if he recovers in time, should replace Franklin.
Bangalore fielded a pace-heavy attack of Zaheer, Nannes and Abhimanyu Mithun against Kochi Tuskers Kerala and could continue with it, given that the Chinnaswamy Stadium has short boundaries. They might also want to send Cheteshwar Pujara higher up the order.
In the spotlight
Mayank Agarwal impressed on his IPL debut, smacking Muttiah Muralitharan over deep midwicket off the first ball he bowled. Malinga will test him upfront with the yorkers. How will he tackle them?
Davy Jacobs was undone by a pacy incoming delivery from Morne Morkel against Delhi. He will be up against Zaheer and Nannes in Bangalore. Will he be able to uncork those powerful wrists, like he did in the Champions League last year?
- Bangalore and Mumbai have been involved in two of the three ten-wicket victories in the IPL. Bangalore beat Rajasthan Royals in 2010 by the same margin by which Mumbai lost to Deccan Chargers in 2008
- AB de Villiers held 13 catches in the field in 2009, the most in an IPL season. Andrew Symonds was not far behind with 12, the most in IPL 2010
"My wicketkeeping is coming along very well, and I am getting good experience in Indian conditions. I have shown that I can do both [batting and keeping] and fitness is not a worry."
AB de Villiers can't do anything wrong at the moment