Royal Challenger Bangalore v Mumbai Indians: Weak RCB attack will struggle to contain Rohit and co

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma's side have dominated RCB of late

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma square up in Monday's match. Paul Krishnamurty predicts the latter's team will continue to dominate over-rated RCB...

"Back Rohit for Man of the Match at 9/1...His innings was magnificent last time and if settling early, this RCB attack is unlikely to contain him."


Back Rohit Sharma to be Man of the Match 0.5u @ 9/1

Royal Challenger Bangalore v Mumbai Indians
Monday, 15:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

RCB and Mumbai Indians are two of the most popular and famous IPL franchises but it would be stretching reality to call them close rivals. The latter have won four of the last seven IPLs, whereas Virat Kohli's men have never won it and only reached two of the last eight play-offs.

Mumbai dominated recent encounters

Their head-to-head is similarly one-sided. Mumbai won five of their last six matches to lead 16-9 in their IPL encounters, or 18-9 if including the Champions League. At least at this early stage of the 2020 renewal, they are tied on two points from two matches.

However they enjoyed contrasting fortunes in their previous match. Mumbai beat Kolkata by 49 runs, whereas Bangalore lost to Kings XI Punjab by 97 runs.

Defending champions off the mark in style

Having lost their opener to genuine rivals Chennai, Mumbai could barely have been more impressive. They lost opener Quinton De Kock early but Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav put on 90 off 63 for the second wicket.

They reached 195 despite an ordinary finish, without any fireworks from Kieron Pollard, and never looked in doubt during the chase. KKR were flattered by the margin of defeat after some late sixes.

RCB bowlers don't look up to standard

RCB, meanwhile, were brutalised by KL Rahul, conceding 206 runs. Dale Steyn and Umesh Yadav went for 14.25 and 11.66 respectively. Yet again, their bowling looks well short of the required standard. They will struggle to contain sides unless Yuzvendra Chahal and Adam Zampa (when picked) dominate in more spin-friendly conditions.

This will be the fifth match of this IPL at the Dubai International Stadium. The previous first innings totals were 157, 163, 206 and 175. The first was miraculous from Delhi following a terrible start.

Chasing looks very hard at Dubai

On that evidence, par is probably 165-170 and that looks difficult to chase. The pitch seems to get slower as innings progress - that certainly seemed the case with Delhi's 175 last time, which would prove easily enough.

Those four wins for the side batting first makes it 34 apiece for defenders and chasers in either internationals or PSL since 2017. Those numbers were 31/18 to chasers so the dynamics seem to have changed dramatically in favour of defenders.

Totals likely to start coming down

As the season goes on, expect totals to drop significantly. That may well be soon and that 175 looked well over par. From now, my first innings strategy will be to keep 'unders' onside. In most matches, 160 or more has started around 8/131.6. That would be a decent value lay, along with 150 plus at 1/31.35.

That especially applies if RCB bat first. The market is always wary of overs when they bat due to the presence of Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers (among others), but this Mumbai attack isn't easy to dominate. How young leg-spinner Rahul Chahar fares against RCB's big-guns could be pivotal, because they're unlikely to get much change out of Jasprit Bumrah.

In my last preview, I advised following the '25% rule' explained to Ed Hawkins on Cricket...Only Bettor. That means setting an order on my selection at 25% higher than starting odds. It didn't work on that occasion because Kings XI won without ever drifting to the target.

No matter, that is a plan to follow here. 4/51.8 about Mumbai fairly reflects their supremacy, but were they to lose the toss they would drift markedly. The target price here is 2.25 and getting matched there doesn't seem too much of an ask, given the nature of T20.

Neither top batsman market makes much appeal, basically because I prefer outsiders to favourites and the latter are very strong. Note, however, that there are OddsBoosts available for both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli - at 3/1 and 13/5 respectively.

Get Rohit Sharma onside

I'd rather back Rohit for Man of the Match at 9/1 - twice the odds for Top Match Batsman. His innings was magnificent last time and if settling early, this RCB attack is unlikely to contain him.

Another side market that appeals is Top Bangalore Wicket Taker. Chahal's odds are also boosted to 3/1, which is fair, but there must be a chance that Mumbai take fewer risks against him than the rest. Shivam Dube has taken four wickets already and is decent value at 6/1 here.


Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

Paul's IPL 2020 P/L

+3.3 units

Indian Premier League: Indian Premier League (Winner)

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Saturday 19 September, 2.59pm

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