Rohit Sharma vs Virat Kohli. Enough said. World-class batsmen, friends, teammates, mutual admirers and, in this context, fierce competitors. MI’s rivalry with RCB is, without doubt, the second-most celebrated match-up after you know which one. MI got into this fixture with lots to ponder on. For starters, we need to find a way to get on the right side of last-over (even last-ball) finishes. Yes, we have fought back from worse positions in the past, but it’s imperative the boys ensure we get off the mark. The thing is that we have done most things right in each of our three games but, clearly, we weren’t as good as we ought to be. Maybe we should chase for once. But for that to happen, Sharma will have to call correctly at the toss. He’s not got it right even once this season. Here’s an encouraging stat: Sharma has won the Match of the Match award in three of our last four matches against RCB at the Wankhede. He did that in 2014, 2016 and 2017. The 2015 clash was all about Ab de Villiers and his 133 not out. RCB haven’t played to their potential either. After losing their opener to Kolkata Knight Riders, they got the better of Kings XI Punjab before losing to Rajasthan Royals in a high-scoring encounter on Sunday. If nothing, MI need someone to do a Sanju Samson. And the bowlers need to step up, too. Also, we can’t afford any slip-ups in the fielding department.
In The Spotlight
Suryakumar Yadav batted like a dream against Delhi Daredevils. Incredibly enough, it was his first outing as an opener. And, boy, wasn’t he impressive? Yadav, a highly-rated batsman on the domestic circuit, thrilled us all with some delectable strokeplay. His knock was more about timing and placement than power and force. Those straight drives, straight out of the textbook, were a treat to the eye. However, he needs to make the most of this opportunity and he needs to be consistent. At the post-match press conference on Sunday, Yadav said he will look to play 50-60 deliveries. That only shows his desire and intent to bat longer and make important contributions. He couldn’t have put it better.
Adam Milne can do what only a handful of bowlers in world cricket — let alone the Vivo IPL — can do. Yes, he can bowl at 150 kph at will. Clearly, his arrival is good news for MI. We could do with some serious firepower. No matter how batting-friendly the surface is, anybody who bowls that fast will always be a threat. The other good news is that Milne is bowling coach Shane Bond’s understudy. In other words, the compatriots have a great working relationship. Milne knows what it takes to do well in these conditions. And guess what, he played a few games for RCB in the 2016 and 2017 editions. Last year, he was the highest wicket-taker for Kent in the T20 Blast. He played just seven games but picked up 15 wickets at a brilliant strike-rate of 10.3. His economy rate was an impressive 7.23. Come on, Adam, the Paltan is with you.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
With 9,039 runs, Brendon McCullum is the second-highest run-getter in the history of Twenty20 cricket. But the New Zealand superstar has managed just 47 runs in three outings for RCB this season. That includes a 43 in their opening clash against Kolkata Knight Riders. B-Mac would want to prove a point or two when he steps out to open on Tuesday. That said, the MI bowlers will be ready with their plans. McCullum isn’t exactly comfortable with spin, especially at the start of the innings. He’s been dismissed in the first over on two occasions this season. Axar Patel got him for a first-ball duck on April 13. And, on April 15, K Gowtham dismissed him for just four runs. That’s our cue. Umesh Yadav has made it clear that he wants to play for Team India in all formats of the game. The burly pacer returned figures of 2/27 and 3/23 in RCB’s first two games before Sanju Samson and Rahul Tripathi brought him down to earth on Sunday. Yadav conceded as many as 27 in the final over to end up with 0/59 in four overs against Rajasthan Royals. Will he find his rhythm against us? Or, will our batsmen make difficult for him?
Mustafizur Rahman vs Virat Kohli
In the past few years, India and Bangladesh have been involved in some high-octane clashes. Rahman’s 6/43 had inspired his team to a historic series win over India in 2015. It was only his second ODI. Kohli had gone after him in the same match. But Rahman famously said that he didn’t believe in sledging. He also said he considered Kohli like an elder brother. Kohli then got the better of Rahman in subsequent games. On Tuesday, we will witness another chapter of this interesting rivalry. Can Rahman ‘cut’ the world’s best batsman to size?
Washington Sundar vs Rohit Sharma
Sundar has played for India on seven occasions (one ODI and six T20Is). And Sharma led in each of those games. Simply put, Sundar thrived under Sharma’s captaincy. Remember the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka? Sharma showed faith in the youngster and got him to open the bowling. Sundar responded in brilliant fashion. It will be interesting to see how his encounter pans out. Sundar will give anything to get Sharma out. On the other hand, Sharma will do everything he can to keep him at bay.
Head to Head MI lead 13-8
Form GuideMI: LLWWWRCB: LWLWL
Last 5 Matches MI have four of the last five contests. RCB have not beaten MI since May 10, 2015.