Royal Challengers Bangalore v Mumbai Indians: Keen on Kieran

Kieron Pollard
Kieron Pollard may not have too much to beat at a big price.

Two out-of-form sides play each other and the best bet lies in the Mumbai top bat market, where big Kieron Pollard is too a big price, says Jamie Pacheco.

"They can talk about match-ups and right/left-hand combinations till the cows come home but surely you want to give your best batters a chance to play themselves in, so they can capitalise in the death overs."

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Mumbai Indians
Sunday 26 September, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports

RCB in danger of losing the plot

RCB will be cursing their luck that the IPL was interrupted when it was. They were going well before the enforced break but ended up losing five players, either opting out or through injury.

Since the resumption, there was that humiliating defeat to KKR and then there was the familiar story of a defeat to CSK, who they always seem to lose to.

They actually started pretty well with Virat Kohli getting to 53 off 41 and looking in great nick before being guilty of just the one mis-timed shot.

Devdutt Padikkal was even better with 50 off 70 but their trio of overseas middle-order batsmen in AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and debutant Tim David made just 24 runs between them.

The 156/6 was never going to be enough against CSK's long and aggressive batting line-up, so down the table they fell further.

Things could really go south for them from hereon. I still think Dan Christian should play for his experience, unorthodox bowling and ability to go big at the death; but the management don't seem to see things that way.

Kohli (2) - 1280.jpg

Likely XI: Padikkal, Kohli, Maxwell, de Villiers, David, Bharat, Wanindu Hasaranga, Patel, Saini, Siraj, Chahal.

Mumbai need to wake up

Mumbai are in the same boat as RCB. Two games since the restart, two defeats.

It goes to show that retaining the same players year after year isn't necessarily a guarantee of success. Maybe that's being a bit harsh about a side who is by far the most successful in the history of the IPL and who has won it back-to-back over the last two years, the first team to ever do that.

Then again, maybe it's the players themselves who need to take a long, hard look at themselves rather than the management who do the recruiting.

Take Rohit Sharma, the skipper. He keeps getting starts and then keeps getting out just as he's played himself in. Suryakumar Yadav has been quiet, too. One fifty in nine knocks for a player of his ability batting at three, just isn't good enough. Trent Boult is going at almost nine an over.

They could think about giving Chris Lynn a game as opener and shifting Sharma down to three. They certainly need to change something.

Possible XI Sharma, de Kock, Yadav, Kishan, Pollard, Tiwary, Krunal Pandya, Milne, Chahar, Bumrah, Boult.

Pitch report

Hard to know what to make of this Dubai pitch. A weak SRH batting line-up made just 134/9 against Delhi, easily chased. CSK posted 156/6 against Mumbai, winning by 20 runs. Rajasthan made 185/5 against the Punjab Kings, which they failed to chase in one of the biggest implosions ever seen in the IPL.

So maybe about 165 is about par but it's not so easy to see whether the advantage lies with batting first or chasing.

Winner market understandably tight

You can get very close to even money on Mumbai over on the Exchange. In previous years, you would have bitten a layer's hand off for that sort of price. But this really doesn't look like the Mumbai of old.

The head-to-head record between the two shows Mumbai miles ahead at 19 wins to 11 for RCB but it was Kohli's men who narrowly won this fixture when it was played back in April.

Id you can get 1.95 or Mumbai, that's not a bad price, simply because I'd just about favour their bowling where Jasprit Bumrah and Rahul Chahar have been excellent. They're as bad as each other when it comes to the batting right now so maybe the edge lies with Mumbai when it comes to the ball.

But I still don't trust them quite enough to go in at that price.

Rohit Sharma plays shot 1280.jpg

Pollard promotion could make all the difference

I really don't understand this obsession with holding back your best batsmen and seeing them come in at six, seven or eight.

KKR often do it with Andre Russell (as did Jamaica in the CPL), Delhi think it's a good idea to play specialist batsman Shimron Hetmyer at six and Kieron Pollard has often come in at five down for Mumbai in the past.

They can talk about match-ups and right/left hand combinations till the cows come home but surely you want to give your best batters a chance to play themselves in, so they can capitalise in the death overs.

At least Mumbai had the sense to 'promote' Pollard up to number five last time out.

I say promote because that's where he should have been batting to begin with. His 21 off 15 wasn't enough to get them to a winning score but his strike rate of 140 was higher than that of anyone else batting in the Top Six.

With Hardik Pandya an injury doubt, Pollard may get another chance at five. And with his IPL record and the fact no-one else is in any great form, the 9/1 makes plenty of appeal.

Consistent Padikkal to get to 19

Devdutt Padikkal has been one of the IPL's most consistent batsmen over the past two seasons.

At 21, he'll surely be a huge player for them over the next few seasons, especially when someone like Kohli decides to call it a day.
Here are his scores in the IPL so far this season: 11, 25, 101, 34, 17, 7, 22 and 70.

So that's six out of eight where he's scored over 18.5 runs. That makes the 1.73 that he scores at least 19 worth our while. As an opener, he'll have every chance.

***

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