Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore will be looking to confirm a place in the playoffs when they meet each other in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Along with the race for the fourth position in IPL 2020, the race to finish in the top two spots is also close. Mumbai Indians (MI), Delhi Capitals (DC), and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are all on 14 points, separated by net run-rate. MI and RCB will be looking to move to the first spot when the two sides play on October 28 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
MI come into this game on the back of a crushing defeat against Rajasthan Royals. However, this defeat didn’t have a major impact on MI’s net run-rate. They need a couple of victories in the next three games to seal the top position in the table.
Similar to MI, RCB will also play on Wednesday after suffering defeat against Chennai Super Kings last weekend. The Bangalore-based team has a much poorer run-rate so a win in the next three games is paramount for them to qualify for the playoffs.
MI was exceptional with the bat against RR. Hardik Pandya contributed with a quickfire half-century to propel them to 195. Throughout the tournament, at least one batsman has taken responsibility in every game for MI. They are likely to be without Rohit Sharma on Wednesday.
MI has enough explosive players in Kieron Pollard, Pandya brothers, Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, and Surya Kumar Yadav to see out the league phase without their captain.
Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers remain the key batsmen for RCB. Although they struggled to score quickly against CSK last Saturday, the overall form of the duo in this tournament has been good. Devdutt Padikkal has also chipped in with important contributions at the top of the batting order. All these three players will have to come up with the goods to beat MI on Wednesday.
Kohli has much better bowling options to his disposal this season. Chris Morris continues to be the main man with the new and old ball. The South African all-rounder concedes very few runs and makes important breakthroughs throughout the innings. The spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar continue to tighten the screw in middle overs.
On the other hand, MI also has a strong and balanced bowling lineup. They did have an off day against RR, but they have been consistent throughout the tournament. Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, and James Pattinson have bamboozled batsmen with pace and accurate bowling. Rahul Chahar is quietly having a good tournament with 13 wickets in 11 games.
It is the battle of the two best teams in IPL 2020. In the previous encounter, RCB clinched victory in super over. Considering a win will seal the playoff spot, this game has all the ingredients to be a classic.
By Kiran Thakare