It’s a matter of winning one more game to reach the final and the play-off between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) promises to be a cracker of a contest at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Friday. It’s a great chance for RCB to reach the IPL final for the second time while Mumbai Indians, it’s an opportunity to make their second straight summit clash.
Mumbai Indians, after winning back-to-back matches against Kolkata Knight Riders, are on a high and the Sachin Tendulkar-led side will look to carry the momentum into Friday’s game. But RCB are a tough opponent and despite losing matches at the league stage, they have showed the gumption to fight back at crucial periods.
Royal Challengers owe their turnaround in IPL 4 to Chris Gayle. The Jamaican has almost single-handedly put the side into the play-offs. Gayle was ignored by all franchises during the IPL auction and was dropped from the West Indies squad for the home series against Pakistan. But the former Windies skipper, who replaced Australian pacer Dirk Nannes in the RCB squad, has dazzled with his whirlwind batting. Gayle is a great threat to any team and MI will need to keep him silent.
Mumbai Indians, too, have plenty of big-hitters in the squad. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma, Aiden Blizard and James Franklin are in good nick and will definitely be a challenge for Daniel Vettori’s boys. Tendulkar has been the lighthouse for his side, guiding youngsters like Sharma and Rayudu in the tournament.
Royal Challengers lost a close game against the Chennai Super Kings in the first playoff in Mumbai. Despite posting a formidable 175 on the board, they failed to stop the marauding defending champions. The likes of Zaheer Khan and Daniel Vettori looked patchy and the two have to pull up their socks if they wish to beat Mumbai Indians at Chepauk.
Most teams have played at least two spinners in the tournament but RCB have lacked the second spinner who can complement Vettori. Their bowling has mainly revolved around Zaheer but the Indian spearhead has not been at his best so far. But Zaheer is experienced and is capable of bouncing back. “As far as the second spinner is concerned, we have Gayle who has been supporting me well and I’m happy with Zaheer’s form too. He has produced wickets upfront and has been exceptional with the ball so far,” Vettori said.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: D Vettori (capt), V Kohli, M Agarwal, S Aravind, Z Khan, B Arun Karthik, G Muralidharan, A Mithun, Mohd Kaif, R Ninan, A Pathan, C Gayle, AB de Villiers, C Langeveldt, L Pomersbach, S Tiwary, J van der Wath, S Mohammed, R Roussow, J Vandiar, A Kazi.
Mumbai Indians: S Tendulkar (capt), A Rayudu, Harbhajan, R Sharma, T Suman, M Patel, A Blizzard, K Pollard, L Malinga, A Symonds, D Jacobs, J Franklin, D Fernando, R Price, A Nechim, A Tare, A Murtaza, D Kulkarni, P Suyal, R Satish, S Kanwar, S Yadav, Y Singh.