Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians: Preview and Prediction
Mumbai Indians will lock horns against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 5th match of the sixteenth edition of IPL on Sunday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
IPL 2023 will return to the home-away format after 2019, reiterating that fans will flock to the stadiums to support their teams. RCB will be hoping to make amends for how last season ended for them. The Royals finished fourth and were pretty adrift of yet another IPL title. MI, on the other hand, had an abysmal season. They finished the season at the bottom of the table. However, while they have lost the first match of the season in more or less every edition of IPL, Mumbai Indians will be hoping to break that curse with a win against RCB.
What have they done so far?
RCB and MI were on different ends of the points table at the end of IPL 2022. While RCB finished fourth, MI finished last and managed just four wins in 14 games. Clearly, Rohit Sharma and co. will be under a lot of pressure to overcome the ghosts of last season. The five-time champions have made several changes to their roster, in a bid to regain former glory.
MI went above and beyond to sign Australia’s Cameroon Green, making him the most expensive Australian signing in IPL history. Green’s presence will not only bolster their bowling attack but will also ensure that the team bats deep.
Jofra Archer, who missed the whole of last season due to injury, will finally make his MI debut this year. Both Green and Archer will be instrumental in the team’s success in the absence of Indian talisman, Jasprit Bumrah and Australia’s Jhye Richardson.
Moreover, Green’s presence, along with Tim David, Tilak Varma, and Dewald Brevis, makes MI’s batting line-up even more threatening.
However, Mumbai Indians’ Achilles heel has to be spin bowling. Ever since they lost Rahul Chahar in the mega auction, MI have looked like fish out of water in the middle overs. Mumbai Indians made some interesting purchases to combat that problem this year.
They signed World Cup winner Piyush Chawla and bagged the services of the young leg-spinning prodigy Nehal Wadhere, along with Shams Mulani. But, it appears that the spin department isn’t that powerful when you look past Kumar Kartikeya and Hrithik Shokeen. This is one area that could cost them if they play crucial games on turners or dry pitches.
Interestingly, RCB looks like a more balanced side on paper, as they did last year as well. The biggest talking point for the team from Bengaluru was their skipper Faf du Plessis who scored 468 runs in 14 matches, which was laced with three 50+ scores.
Virat Kohli, who went through a lean patch last time around, has been in lethal form off late and will provide a massive boost to the line-up that has already lost Rajat Patidar because of injury. It’s possible that Kiwi batsman Finn Allen might open the innings alongside du Plessis. It’s also possible that RCB might give uncapped player Anuj Rawat a chance to open the innings.
Furthermore, Josh Hazlewood is set to miss the initial leg of IPL 2023 because of an injury. Glenn Maxwell, too, might be warming the bench during RCB’s first outing in this year’s edition of IPL. Undoubtedly, Siraj will be key to RCB’s success, something that was a cause for concern last season.
Wanindu Hasaranga will also miss a few games due to national commitments. However, Mahipal Lomror and Suyash Prabhudessai are likely to vie for that no. 5 spot. RCB will be relying on Dinesh Kartik to be the finisher for them, as he bagged the title for himself last season, which also saw his resurgence in the Indian team.
Head to Head record
Mumbai has been the more dominant side in IPL, having won five titles in the last 10 years, but they have been especially dominant against RCB as well. The two teams have squared off against each other 30 times, of which MI have won 17 games, while RCB has enjoyed success 13 times.
Of their last 10 encounters, MI have won six, while RCB has had to settle with just four wins. However, MI have a history of losing the first game of the season and if things pan out as they have in the last few years, RCB might kick off IPL 2023 on a winning note.
Suryakumar Yadav (MI): While he has struggled to make a dent in the longer format of the game, SKY remains one of the most lethal batsmen to have played the shortest format of the game.
He was the highest run-getter for India in the T20I format in 2022 and also won the ICC T20I Men’s Player of the Year title. Furthermore, he scored a century earlier this year against Sri Lanka, reiterating that he is a force to be reckoned with in the shortest format.
In eight matches, SKY scored 303 runs in IPL 2022. MI will be counting on him to bolster their middle order and also lead the team as Rohit Sharma might rest himself through several games of the group stages.
Faf du Plessis (RCB): The South African legend is ageing like fine wine. He has been a household name in India, owing to his antics while he played for Chennai Super Kings. However, his form last year emphasized that the color of the jersey has no bearing on the kind of cricket he plays.
He was instrumental in most of what RCB managed to achieve last season. With Kohli struggling, du Plessis strengthened the squad both as a top-order batsman and also as a skipper.
As aforementioned, he scored 468 runs in IPL 2022 and RCB will be hoping to see more of what transpired last season.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Finn Allen, Faf du Plessis ©, Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Mahipal Lomror, Dinesh Karthik, Michael Bracewell, Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, Md Siraj, Manoj Bhandage
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma ©, Ishan Kishan, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav, Cameron Green, Tim David, Arshad Khan/Arjun Tendulkar, Jofra Archer, Kumar Kartikeya, Jason Behrendorff, Shams Mulani
While both teams look pretty strong, RCB will be riding high on confidence after having finished the previous season on a high, if not winning note. However, purely on the basis of how the first game of every season has gone for MI, we predict RCB to emerge victorious on Sunday.