Mumbai take on Bangalore today

BANGALORE: Riding high on the crest of Sachin Tendulkar’s rollicking form, Mumbai Indians would look to score another victory when they take on the Anil Kumble-led Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday.

While Mumbai Indians have already qualified for the semifinals with 18 points from 12 matches, Bangalore, with 14 points under their belt from 13 games, would have to ensure that they don’t slip up at the doorstep of what would be their second straight semifinals in the cash-awash league.

They had finished runner-up in the second edition in South Africa.

Though they have virtually made the semifinals alongside table-toppers Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils (14 for 13), Bangalore would have to ensure that their net run-rate doesn’t nose dive even in the eventuality of losing the match to Tendulkar’s all-conquering gladiators.

If they do, they will be providing a life line to Chennai Super Kings (12 from 13 games), Rajasthan Royals (12 from 13) and Deccan Chargers to claw their way back to be contention for a place in the semifinals.

So, the focus would be on the crucial run-rate, though a victory against Mumbai, whom they had vanquished at the start of their campaign in the third edition, would boost their confidence.

Unlike Mumbai Indians, RCB have been inconsistent. Beginning their campaign with four successive wins in five matches, RCB’s slate has been peppered with high-profile wins and demoralising defeats.

They have won matches they shouldn’t have and lost games which they should have won hands down. If bowling had been their concern at the start, their batting has been wobbly of late. These are aspects that Kumble would want to mend in this game before the semifinals.

Pankaj Singh has lent zip to the attack. The tall pacer, who has impressed the national selectors with his consistent line and length, came away with two wickets in RCB’s victory against Rajasthan Royals.

If R Vinay Kumar (16 wickets), Dale Steyn (12 wickets), Jacques Kallis (528 runs in 13 games), Robin Uthappa (344 in 12 innings) and Kevin Pietersen do what is expected of them, RCB could have possibly come up trumps tomorrow.

On the other hand, Mumbai Indians have a powerful, if not lethal, attack with the likes of Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh in their ranks.

If the fearsome threesome, who have accounted for 13 wickets each, fail to deliver, there is a certain Tendulkar who could make up for their failure his willow which has been oozing with runs (542 in 12 games).(PTI)

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