It’s the second consecutive game on the road for the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as they take on Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. After losing six games on the trot to start IPL 2019, they finally put an end to their losing streak and tasted victory on Saturday as they beat Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by eight wickets.
The win was built on RCB’s big stars who performed really well to take them over the line. Yuzvendra Chahal bowled beautifully in the middle overs to restrict KXIP and then Kohli and AB de Villiers stepped up before Marcus Stoinis applied the finishing touches.
RCB don’t have a good record against Mumbai Indians or at the Wankhede Stadium. And they are still far away from the playoff spots as they languish at the bottom of the points table. However, despite history being against Kohli and his men, here are reasons why they can upstage the hosts and continue their winning momentum.
The form of the two big Indian stars
Virat Kohli had an iffy start to the season. He had no fifties in the first four games, and even registered a couple of single-digit scores. However, in the last three matches, he seems to have come into his own.
Kohli has been dominating the bowling attacks lately, and the runs have started to flow again. He struck a fine 84 against Kolkata Knight Riders, setting up the big total while batting first. He was RCB’s best batsman in the game against Delhi Capitals as well. And in the last game, he set up the chase in typical fashion as he scored 67.
On the other hand, Yuzvendra Chahal’s performance has gone under the radar a bit this season. With RCB on the losing side more often than not, Chahal’s excellent returns have largely gone unnoticed.
The Haryana leggie has picked up 11 wickets in seven games so far. His economy rate of 7.07 has been excellent as well, and he’s been by far RCB’s best bowler. He’s also shown the ability to bounce back despite being taken for runs.
Moreover, De Villiers and Stoinis have started doing well too. The latter delivered in the last game while the South African star has scored three fifties this season.
The form of the two big Indian stars and a couple of their foreigners bodes well for RCB.
Nothing to lose
A lot of people have already written off RCB. After six losses in a row, the team looked down and out. However, they bounced back in style to beat KXIP in their own backyard. In fact, that was KXIP’s first loss in Mohali since the 2017 edition.
It did look like RCB played with a sense of freedom and without any expectation and pressure. They could well carry that forward; if they continue playing like they’ve got nothing to lose, they would be dangerous for every opposition.
Patchy form of MI
In the last couple of seasons, Mumbai Indians have blown hot and cold for the most part. They haven’t been able to gain momentum and get on a roll at any stage, and always seem to be playing catch-up.
Last season, they missed out on a playoff berth after they lost the final league game. This season, they didn’t get off to a great start as they lost two out of their first three games.
However, they did win their next three encounters, and just when it looked like they were going to get on a roll, they hit a roadblock as they lost to the seventh-placed Rajasthan Royals in a home game.
The form of their middle-order has been patchy to say the least. The likes of Kieron Pollard, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Krunal Pandya have all been inconsistent this season, which is a cause for concern.