Mumbai Indians need a win to get out of the early rut they find themselves in, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore will be keen to find that winning touch again after going down to the Delhi Daredevils in their previous match. So, MI vs RCB in IPL 2016 promises to be an entertaining match, especially considering the batting firepower of both the team, particularly the latter.
The Wankhede pitch, in the first two games, has aided the fast bowlers a fair bit, while sticking a little onto the surface as well, so it remains to be seen if the nature of the pitch changes or if it stays the same.
Whatever the conditions, batting second might be the better option, because both matches of IPL 2016 have been won by the team chasing, even if that is largely because MI have batted quite poorly in those games.
Here is how the IPL 9 match might transpire, depending on which team bats first.
If MI bat first: The home team, puzzlingly, but not surprisingly, stick with Rohit Sharma at No.4, which means Martin Guptill and Parthiv Patel come in to bat. Patel scores a typical quickfire 20, filled with a few cut shots, but Guptill, after a bit of a circumspect start, puts on a sizeable partnership with Ambati Rayudu. Once Rayudu falls, Rohit comes in and builds another partnership with Guptill, who goes on to complete a nice half-century, his first for his team. Buttler comes towards the end and smashes a few with Hardik Pandya chipping in as well and the Mumbai Indians make a good score of 170, brushing aside their batting worries.
RCB start the chase with Virat Kohli and Shane Watson, and Kohli gets his first failure of IPL 2016. AB De Villiers comes in, but goes after a quickfire 20-odd, leaving Watson to anchor the chase. The Australian does that pretty well, but keeps losing partners at the other end, with Travis Head and Sarfaraz Khan unable to do much with the willow. In the end, RCB fall short of the target.
If RCB bat first: Kohli and Watson walk in –with Chris Gayle back in Jamaica -- and put on 45 runs together, before Kohli departs. Watson and De Villiers forge a half-century partnership, keeping RCB on course for a big total. However, just when a large score looked inevitable, Harbhajan Singh takes a couple of quick wickets and the death bowlers, led by Jasprit Bumrah, stifle the RCB assault.
With a just-about-par score to chase, Guptill gets going early after Patel falls in the first couple of overs, with Rayudu scoring around 20 at a run-a-ball. Rohit falls without scoring too many, but Buttler is there to see MI home and give them their second win in five matches.