A confident Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to carry on their winning momentum when they take on title holders Mumbai Indians, who will be low on belief after losing their opener to Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League in Dubai on Friday.
Star-studded RCB opened their IPL 7 campaign on a resounding note as they crushed a new-look Delhi Daredevils by eight wickets in Sharjah last night. Yuvraj Singh, who faced immense criticism after his disappointing knock in ICC World Twenty20 final, silenced his detractors with a brilliant unbeaten 52 and shared 84 runs in just 7.9 overs with captain Virat Kohli (49 not out) for the unconquered third wicket stand to help RCB chase down Daredevils' 145-run target with 20 balls to spare.
Down with a back injury, RCB did not have the services of the explosive Chris Gayle last night but it hardly made any impact on RCB's chase. The decision of RCB, who had retained big boys Kohli, Gayle and AB de Villiers for the seventh edition, to shell out a whopping Rs 14 crore for Yuvraj bore fruit as the left-hander justified his price tag with the brilliant half-century knock.
RCB's best finish was the runners-up trophy in 2009 and 2011 but this time around the team would be hoping to ride on the performances of the big boys to clinch their maiden IPL title. RCB's bowling was considered their weak link but against the Daredevils on Thursday, their bowlers did just enough to restrict the opponents to a modest 145 for four.
While Mitchell Starc generated pace upfront even though he went for a few runs, Albie Morkel and Varun Aaron were right on their money. In fact Aaron (9 for one in 3 overs) bowled a misery spell but Bengal pacer Ashok Dinda leaked runs. The star of the day was young leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his spell of 4-0-18-1
Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, have plenty of work to do both in their batting as well as bowling departments after their 41-run loss to Kolkata Knight Riders in the tournament opener.
Barring Zaheer Khan (1/23) and the ever-reliable Lasith Malinga (4/23), Mumbai's bowling performance against KKR was below-par. On the batting front too, Mumbai lacked sting to chase down the 164-run target set by KKR. Mumbai's batsmen seemed all at sea against West Indian mystery spinner Sunil Narine. It seemed they had no clue on how to take Narine who snared four wickets to rattle the defending champion's chase. Apart from Ambati Rayudu (48), skipper Rohit Sharma (27) and Aditya Tare (24), no other Mumbai batsmen reached double digit scores, which would be a cause of concern for coach John Wright and mentor Sachin Tendulkar.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh, Mitchell Starc, Albie Morkel, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Parthiv Patel, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ravi Rampaul, Nic Maddinson, Harshal Patel, Vijay Zol, Abu Nechim, Sachin Rana, Shadab Jakati, Sandeep Warrier, Tanmay Mishra, Yogesh Takawale, Yuzwendra Chahal.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Michael Hussey, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Corey Anderson, Josh Hazlewood, CM Gautam, Aditya Tare, Apoorv Wankhade, Marchant de Lange, Krishmar Santokie, Ben Dunk, Pawan Suyal, Sushant Marathe, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Jalaj Saxena