With fit-again Jasprit Bumrah “ready and roaring” after an injury scare, Mumbai Indians would fancy their chances against an erratic Royal Challengers Bangalore when the two star-studded teams square off in the match 7 of cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) on Thursday. The big sub-plot of the contest would be the world’s best ODI batsman — Virat Kohli — taking guard against the world’s best ODI bowler — Bumrah — in a format notorious for its unpredictability.
Bumrah’s shoulder injury was a cause of concern for the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai but India’s premier pacer seems to have recovered in time to be back in the fold. Both teams will be eager to register their first win of the IPL and the onus will be on Kohli and Rohit, both of who failed with the bat in their respective opening matches.
Mumbai will also be boosted by the availability of Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga. Malinga was 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.
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.
Match starts at 8 PM
(With PTI Inputs)