RCB vs MI: The battle of the heavyweights in Dubai
Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, Trent Boult, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Mohammed Siraj - when you have such a lineage of stars, who can single-handedly turn a game on its head, it promises to be an absolute blockbuster.
Wind back the clock to when the two teams last faced off at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium - 28 September 2020. 402 runs. 40 overs. Both the teams still couldn't be separated after the completion of 40 overs. They say T20 is a very dicey game. The tables can turn around any second, any minute. The state of play in the next five-ten minutes was self-explanatory of the above statement. On a day where all the batsmen went hammer and tongs against the bowlers, it all boiled down to the pacers to prove their mettle for their respective sides in the Super Over. Navdeep Saini was entrusted with the massive responsibility of bowling in the Super Over. It is never easy bowling against batting behemoths such as Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard, especially in a crunch situation where the margin of error for a bowler is very minimal. But the pacer put his hand up and displayed a courageous bowling performance, conceding only 7 runs. His bowling effort in the Super Over had a telling impact on the result of the game as the duo Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers romped RCB towards the finishing line.
The fans will be expecting another nerve-wracking contest on Sunday when Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers lock horns against Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians. As far as the second leg is concerned, both the teams are currently gliding on the same graph having lost successive encounters against KKR and CSK respectively. With plenty at stake, the result of the game would have a significant impact on the team’s campaign. A loss for MI would make things more complicated while RCB will be eager to return to the winning ways. Needless to say, Dubai was a hunting ground for Virat Kohli’s troops in IPL 2020. Be it Yuzi’s masterly spell against SRH, Kohli’s unbeaten 90 against CSK or AB de Villiers’ blitzkrieg against Rajasthan Royals, there has been plenty of memories associated with Dubai.
There were quite a lot of positives to take away from yesterday’s fixture against Chennai Super Kings with Kohli finding his form back en route to his 41st fifty in the Indian Premier League. The skipper’s confidence would have skyrocketed after an imperial batting display. Devdutt Padikkal too put on an exhilarating display of stroke-making, amassing 70 off 50 balls, studded with 5 boundaries and 3 sixes.
Despite consecutive losses, RCB is still in charge of the situation. The loss against CSK should not have a significant influence on the approach for the big game on Sunday. If the likes of AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and Tim David fire in unison, MI will have a very tough time containing the belligerent RCB batting annexe.
Another biggest takeaway from Friday’s encounter was the guileful bowling performance by Yuzvendra Chahal. The leg-spinner unleashed a variety of variations, tightening the noose around the batsmen in the middle overs. While creating a lot of wicket-taking opportunities, he returned with miserly figures of 4-0-26-1.
With two teams of this calibre going head to head, we couldn't have asked for a better way to cap off the weekend.
Statistical overview of Dubai International Stadium in IPL 2020
Total Matches - 26
Matches won by the team batting first: 14
Matches won by the team chasing: 9
Matches won in the super over: 3
Total wickets claimed by the spinners: 95
Total wickets claimed by the pacers: 188
Predominantly, the pacers have dictated terms in Dubai. They have picked a total of 188 wickets in 26 matches with an average of 7 wickets per game while the spinners have registered 95 wickets with an average of 3 wickets per game. Pace, pace, and pace will undoubtedly be the team's mantra in order to take advantage of the conditions on offer in Dubai.
Date: Sunday, 26 September
Time: 7:30 PM [IST]
Venue: Dubai International Stadium
RCB: Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Yuzvendra Chahal, Devdutt Padikkal, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Shahbaz Ahmed, Pavan Deshpande, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Kyle Jamieson, Dan Christian, Suyesh Prabhudessai, KS Bharat, Tim David, Dushmantha Chameera, Wanindu Hasarangal, Akash Deep, George Garton.
MI: Rohit Sharma (c), Adam Milne, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Arjun Tendulkar, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, James Neesham, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Marco Jansen, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Quinton De Kock, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Yudhvir Singh, Roosh Kalaria.