It is a battle of two teams who could not have been in more stark contrast to one another. While on one hand, Mumbai Indians have been a rampant force this season, Royal Challengers Bangalore can do nothing right and are staring down the barrel by all means.
Mumbai eeked out a win in a thriller in their last game against the Gujarat Lions at Rajkot when Jasprit Bumrah bowled an absolute stunning super over which has placed Mumbai in a cozy spot with 7 wins in their 9 games. They now need a win to almost seal their spot in the playoffs.
For RCB, skipper Virat Kohli has already made it clear that they are not in the race for the playoffs and that they would now play without any pressure in the remaining games. Whether or not this will have any influence on their performance remains to be seen but they are up against Mumbai, which has the in-form team this season.
Match date: 01-05-217
Match time: 1600 hours (IST)
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
If Royal Challengers Bangalore bat first
Predicted score: 160+
The much-famed RCB batting line up has failed miserably this season and they have been bowled out for 3 consecutive matches which is something not even the most ardent critic would have predicted.
The batting line-up looks jaded and out of sorts and for all the dashing stroke makers they have, their intent is missing and this come back to bite them very hard. However, on a true Wankhede pitch, they can still come out firing and although they are under the pump, they have the quality to get back among runs and Wankhede could be the surface they finally find their feet.
They benched Chris Gayle in the match against the Gujarat Lions but he should be back for this match and if the combination of Gayle-Kohli get going no ground and no bowling attack is capable enough to hold them back.
AB de Villiers has slipped under the radar and this has hit RCB real hard, but then knowing the fighter he is, tomorrow could be the day Mumbai face the wrath of the maestro.
Although, RCB’s bowling was always under the scanner, they have held their own this season and if RCB manage to post this total on the board, the bowling could still muster something and halt the Mumbai juggernaut.
They have Samuel Badree who has been brilliant with the ball in the powerplays and in Aravind and Chahal have two Indian bowlers who can hold their head up with some sense of achievement.
If Mumbai Indians bat first
Predicted score: 185+
Mumbai have been the in-form batting team this season and there is the belief in the squad that they can wriggle out from any tight corner and the fact that they have momentum on their side they have not tinkered enough with their playing XI.
Also, their batting combination have found their groove and this has allowed them to go out and express themselves. At the Wankhede, their record is envious and the nature of pitch suits their style of play perfectly.
Jos Buttler and Rohit Sharma have looked promising in patches and now as the season hurtles away to the business end, the Mumbai management would want the big players to step up and this chance against the RCB could be an ideal opportunity for them to get amongst the runs.
Parthiv Patel and Nitish Rana have been consistent for Mumbai this season and the team management has given them all the opportunity to grow and get a result in their favour.
The bowlers have been brilliant for Mumbai and the combination has gelled down beautifully. In Malinga and Bumrah they probably have the best death over bowling attack in the competition and along with Mitchell McClenaghan, they have the left-arm variety which is a great bonus for the captain.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya and his brother Krunal Pandya have given Mumbai the perfect balance as they are match-winners both with the bat and ball.
Veteran offie Harbhajan Singh is bowling beautifully this season and his economy rate is under 7 which is a testament to his prowess and ability.
All-in-all, Mumbai Indians look to have the pedigree and the panache to outwit RCB at the Wankhede and although on paper the teams look fairly evenly matched, on form Mumbai should go the distance in their clash.
Predicted winners: Mumbai Indians