Bengaluru, April 18: Pushed to the wall after four successive defeats, Mumbai Indians (MI) would look to bounce back when they take on a formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8) match here tomorrow.
Mumbai were in a similar situation even last season, losing all their five matches in the early stage, but roared back to form winning almost all games before bowing out to Chennai in the semi-finals.
MI is the only team, which has not opened its account on the points table after back-to-back defeats to defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings.
Captain Rohit Sharma and his team would look to start afresh tomorrow. Mumbai have been searching for the right combination at the top of the order and have tried Sharma, Aaron Finch, Parthiv Patel and West Indian Lendl Simmons without much success.
Mumbai tried shuffling their batting order, without much success, as was reflected in yesterday's match against Chennai. Corey Anderson was pushed to number three but could make only four runs after he was out to a horrendous shot.
Harbhajan Singh's promotion, however, bore fruits as he set the tempo for Mumbai to get a competitive score after they were three for 12. Simmons, who replaced and injured Finch, would like to forget his last innings against Chennai and grab the opportunity to cement his place with some useful knocks.
But amid the woes, there are encouraging signs for Mumbai with Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Kieron Pollard, all match-winners on a given day, in great form. Pollard, especially, has been in devastating form and has belted two back-to-back half centuries.
The powerful West Indian hammered huge sixes in his inimitable style against Rajasthan and Chennai. Mumbai would also hope to utilise the resourceful Ambati Rayudu, who so far, has not got enough opportunities to showcase his batting talent.
Another great worry for Mumbai has been their lacklustre bowling, especially main strike bowler Lasith Malinga, who has endured a pretty ordinary tournament with just four wickets in as many matches.
Also the foxy Sri Lankan has had no good support from either Vinay Kumar and Jagadeesha Suchitch, who have bagged one wicket each in the tournament.
On the other hand, RCB will be facing the problem of rustiness as they have not played any match since April 13. Though RCB had a very good start beating Kolkata in their opening match, they lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by a big margin.
Though boasting of devastating batsmen like Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, the hosts crumbled in the last match, losing five wickets in the last two overs and became the first team in this year's IPL to be bowled out. Gayle would like to continue his terrific form.
He has compiled 117 runs in two matches with 96 being his highest, whereas the destructive duo of Kohli and De Villiers have scored 54 and 74 from two matches respectively. Dinesh Karthik, who was bought for a whooping Rs 12.5 crore in the auction, has had a poor start, making 15 runs in two matches.
RCB's bowling looks a tad weak in the absence of Mitchell Starc as Sean Abbott and Varun Aaron have failed to make any impression and could lose their place to Ashok Dinda and South African David Wiese.
Right-arm medium Sandeep Warrier also stands a good chance of playing. The spin department is being handled by Yuzvendra Chahal, who Kohli pins a lot of hope, would like to continue his form after he has taken three wickets in two games.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villers, Chris Gayle, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Subramaniam Badrinath, Darren Sammy, Mitchell Starc, Nic Maddinson, Varun Aaron, Yuzvendra Singh Chahal, Rilee Rossouw, Vijay Zol, Yogesh Takawale, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Harshal Patel, Ashok Dinda, Sandeep Warrier, Manvinder Bisla, Iqbal Abdullah, Sean Abbott, Adam Milne, David Wiese, Jalaj Saxena, Sarfaraz Naushad Khan and Shishir Bhavane.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Aaron Finch, Ambati Rayudu, Abhimanyu Mithun, Aditya Tare, Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Marchant de Lange, Pawan Suyal, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, Pragyan Ojha, Mitchell McClenaghan, Aiden Blizzard, Akshay Wakhare, Nitish Rana, Sidhesh Lad, Hardik Pandya, Jagadeesha Suchith, Unmukt Chand and R Vinay Kumar.
Match starts 8 PM IST
Also playing tomorrow at 4 PM - RR Vs CSK in Ahmedabad (Match Preview)