Around last weekend, Royal Challengers Bangalore were a pleased side. Assured of a semi-final slot, they were looking forward to playing the knockout match on a pitch that suits their style of play, in front of a crowd that gets behind them vociferously. On Saturday, though, things changed. First they got a hammering from table leaders Mumbai Indians, which meant their net run rate fell, taking them to No. 4, setting up the semi-final against the same opponents. Before that thrashing started, there were two bomb explosions outside the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, which meant the semis were moved to the DY Patil Stadium in the outskirts of Mumbai.
Now Bangalore find themselves up against an imposing side at an intimidating venue: ask Adam Gilchrist, whose Deccan Chargers played a “home” match at DY Patil against Mumbai Indians. Yet Bangalore are one of the few sides this season that know that Mumbai can be beaten: they did so, convincingly, and in front of the Brabourne crowd. Mumbai would like to use their home advantage to make their first-ever appearance in an IPL final.
Form guide (most recent first)
Royal Challengers Bangalore LWLWL
Mumbai Indians LWWWL
After having experimented in their last few matches, Mumbai should go back to full strength, barring injuries. Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga are the two clear choices for overseas players. Dwayne Bravo hasn’t been in great form, so they may give JP Duminy a look-in. Dilhara Fernando might have impressed them enough with his split-finger slower ball, but Ryan McLaren might get the nod because he is a decent batsman too.
Mumbai Indians (probable) 1 Sachin Tendulkar (capt.), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Saurabh Tiwary, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 JP Duminy, 7 R Sathish/Ali Murtaza/Abhishek Nayar/Aditya Tare, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Ryan McLaren/Dilhara Fernando, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Lasith Malinga
Bangalore are not likely to tinker too much with the XI that lost its last league match to Mumbai. Pankaj Singh v Praveen Kumar seems to be an interesting choice.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (probable) 1 Jacques Kallis, 2 Manish Pandey, 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Ross Taylor/Cameron White, 5 Robin Uthappa (wk), 6 Rahul Dravid, 7 Virat Kolhi, 8 Dale Steyn, Anil Kumble (capt.), 10 R Vinay Kumar, 11 Praveen Kumar/Pankaj Singh
Bangalore 3 Mumbai 3
Their first match this year encounter was one-way traffic, with R Vinay Kumar and Dale Steyn slicing open Mumbai’s batting, and Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey leading the chase. But Mumbai returned the favour through an even more one-sided match, a 57-run win.
In the spotlight
Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey have fizzled out after having given Bangalore some smashing starts in the first half of the tournament. Both have recently had question marks against their roles in the team, but it might be too late to replace them. They were as big a factor behind the success as they have been behind a lukewarm second half, and they will not want to be failures if they come second-best in the semi-final.
Lasith Malinga was one of the most difficult men to score off, bowling yorkers at will and using the slower ones as well. But he was rested for the last three matches, so the question is if he will be able to hit his rhythm right away when comes back for a pressure match.
Prime numbers and trivia
* In the first half of the tournament, the opening stand of Kallis and Pandey averaged 72.6 per dismissal at a run-rate of 8.07 per over. In the second half, they have gone at 11.4 per dismissal and 5.34 an over.
* Sachin Tendulkar and Shikhar Dhawan have opened for Mumbai seven times, and their opening combination has averaged 46.43 at 8.55 per over. In the seven remaining games, Mumbai’s first wicket has averaged 24.43 at 7.6 an over.
* Of the six IPL matches played at the DY Patil, three have been won by sides batting first and three by the chasing sides. The average first-innings score has been 153, and second innings 140. Quicker bowlers have enjoyed the venue more, taking 56 wickets at an average of 22.05 and economy-rate of 7.48. The corresponding stats for spinners are 19 wickets at 26.74 and 7.82.
“I don’t think any team has an advantage anywhere. You have to go out and do well. Every team has been beaten by every other team at some stage. Every team has the ability to beat any other team.”
Mumbai coach Robin Singh
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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