Royal Challengers Bangalore host Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League on Thursday, with both teams having lost their respective opening matches.
The clash at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru gains prominence because of the shoulder injury suffered by premier Indian fast-bowler Jasprit Bumrah in the last match.
Bumrah had walked off the field in pain during Mumbai Indians’ loss against Delhi Capitals on Sunday. With the ICC World Cup around the corner, attention will be fixed on the pacer’s fitness till the T20 tournament comes to an end.
On Tuesday, though, the 25-year-old returned to the field and took part in some fielding drills with his Mumbai Indians teammates. Bumrah even had a bowl during the nets on Wednesday, but it is still unclear whether he will take the field against RCB.
“As we all know, Bumrah was out there yesterday warming up and took a few catches. He has recovered well today and looks fit,” said a member from Mumbai Indians’ management. “He will be assessed after today’s [Wednesday’s] training session.”
Bumrah was seen bowling in the nets to the top-order batsmen for sometime. On Tuesday, he ran along with his team-mates for nearly 20 minutes and participated in a catching drill but did not bowl. He did some catching practice and looked comfortable.
In search of first win
Both MI and RCB will be eager to register their first win of the IPL and the onus will be on captains Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, both of who failed with the bat in their respective opening matches.
Mumbai team will also be boosted by the availability of Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga.
Malinga was on Tuesday released by Sri Lanka Cricket from the domestic Super Provincial One-Day domestic tournament, slated from April 4 to 11. The SLC had made the tournament a trial for the World Cup squad selection, prompting Malinga to pull out of the IPL’s first leg initially.
However, the SLC softened its stance, reasoning that the fast bowler will be bowling to better batsmen in the IPL.
Mumbai will also heave a sigh of relief as Bumrah joined practice Wednesday during which he ran for 20 minutes and participated in catching drills. He also took to social media to state that he was “ready and roaring.”
Bumrah suffered the shoulder injury after landing awkwardly while fielding during Sunday’s contest against Delhi Capitals.
Yuvraj Singh will also be in focus after the 37-year-old started the season on a classy note hitting a sublime half-century against Delhi Capitals. While Mitchell McClenaghan will be eager to face the challenge of bowling to Kohli, AB De Villers and Shimron Hetmyer.
RCB will expect its batsmen to put up a formidable total after they were bundled out for a paltry 70 in 17.1 overs against the Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of the season. With power-hitters like Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shimron Heymeyer in the team, that should not be an uphill task.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal will again be the key man in the RCB bowling attack and will need the support of the other bowlers.
Head to Head
Overall: Matches – 23, Royal Challengers Bangalore – 9, Mumbai Indians won – 14.
In Bengaluru: Matches – 9, Royal Challengers Bangalore – 2, Mumbai Indians won – 7.
The average first innings total in IPL 2018 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium was 187.
AB de Villiers scored 4 half-centuries in 5 innings at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium last season.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Ben Cutting, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Siddhesh Lad, Evin Lewis, Lasith Malinga, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Salam, Yuvraj Singh, Anmolpreet Singh, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav and Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper).
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), A. B. de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Kulwant Khejroliya, Moeen Ali, Md. Siraj, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Parthiv Patel, Navdeep Saini, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Marcus Stoinis, Shivam Dube, Prayas Ray Barman, Shimron Hetmyer, Akshdeep Nath, Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Heinrich Klaasen, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Devdutt Padikkal.
Inputs from PTI