Form Chart

MI:  W-W-W-
RCB: L-W-W-

Bowl-O-Meter

MI: 3.5/5

Save the first game, the MI bowling juggernaut has started rolling in full force. Khan , Malinga and Bhajji looked a little off in their respective 2 overs, but we know that they are of decent quality. The calypso kings chipped in with some very tidy bowling. Jayasuriya has been contributing with his left armers. Sachin can still call upon himself or Satish to bowl a few if there’s a need.
So you’ve got a left armer, a right arm pacer with a slingy action, a good off-spinner, a while left arm spinner, 2 good medium pacers. Howzzat for variety?!

RCB: 3/5

The bowlers of RCB haven’t bowled me over yet, but I like their discipline and willingness to stick on to a game plan.  Steyn looked good against RR, but it was still a struggling RR. The Kumars and Kallis have been good in support, with Praveen swinging the ball rather well. Kumble  was back to his miserly best in the last game, but it remains to be seen how they will fare against a quality batting line up. The last time that happened, they conceded 200 runs against Punjab.  I would have loved to see more variety in the line up.

Bat-O-Meter

MI: 4/5

Sachin showed how the game can be played with classical strokes, nudges and guides. Tiwary and Rayudu have been a revelation so far with their  brisk approach to the game. Should something go wrong here, in walk Bravo and POllard  who are capable of absolute mayhem at any point of time. Satish can wield the bat too. This is a long batting line-up, with a lot of quality. If Jayasuriya starts firing,  things can get very very ugly for the opposition.

RCB: 3.5/5

RCB’s strength is definitely the batting too right now. Kallis has been scoring , and scoring big.  Pandey and Uthappa have looked fluid so far, but the main worry for RCB is that Dravid, Kohli and Morgan have hardly had a look in! We’ll never know what sort of touch they are in, but something tells me that we’ll find that out today.

Likely Line-ups

MI: Unchanged from last time
Sachin, Jayasuriya, Tare, Tiwary, Rayudu, POllard, Bravo, Satish, Bhajji, Zaheer, Malinga

RCB: unchanged too
Kallis, Pandey, Uthappa, Kohli, Dravid, Morgan, Kumble,

Face-Offs

MI bowling vs KCB Batting: EVEN

It remains to be seen what Sachin has in store for the man with the golden touch – Kallis. Will he open with Malinga and Zaheer , or opt for a Zaheer-Bhajji combination to see how Kallis handles some quality spin? I would try that out, and keep Malinga for the RCB middle order , where the likes Uthappa,  Kohli and Dravid  may have a chance of struggling against the unconventional action.

For KCB, this might be the game where they have to build instead of going absolutely slam bang from the get go. With Zaheer, Bhajji  and Malinga manning the bowling, it might be a good idea to send the likes of Dravid at 1 down, where his familiarity with the bowlers might hold in good stead, and let the big hitters come a little further down the order.

KCB Bowling vs MI Batting: Slight Advantage MI

KCB need Steyn to be at his pacy best against Sachin and Sanath.  Though Rayudu and Tiwary have been excellent, Kumble should save himself for them, which would call for all of his experience. I just get a feeling that KCB might end up being 1 bowler short against the MI batting line up.

For MI, with Jayasuriya struggling, how about opening with one of the WI boys- perhaps Pollard? They’ve spent a fortune on him, and make no mistake about it, it’s for his batting exploits.  With Tiwary and Rayudu settling in well, there’s no point of bumping him up the order for these guys. Instead, a swap with Sanath would allow Pollard to go apeshit , and give Sanath a breather.

Prediction

I hope that this game is as exciting as it promises to be. Right now, I’d say MI squeezes out the W. They seem to be more balanced as a team.

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