Chris Gayle celebrating one of RCB victories this season. (BCCI)
Mumbai: After thumping Pune Warriors India in what has been labelled as a 'massacre' by Chris Gayle, Royal Challengers Bangalore would look to extend their glorious run when they clash with the Mumbai Indians in Game 37 of IPL 6 on Saturday.
RCB have quite simply been the team to beat with six wins from eight matches thanks to their batting, which bloomed with Gayle's 175 not out from 66 balls against Pune that helped RCB rack up 263. Mumbai, having come off a refreshing victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders, would also like to keep their momentum going, but will have to be on their toes against the in-form RCB.
After beating KKR in a tight finish on Wednesday, Mumbai will be high on morale, especially since they lost to Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils going into that game. From seven matches, they have registered four wins and find themselves in the bottom half of the points table. A victory against the table-toppers will surely do a world of good to Mumbai's confidence and chances into go deep in the tournament.
Mumbai will also want to avenge their agonising two-run loss when the two teams faced off earlier in the tournament at the same venue. Undoubtedly Mumbai looked much more balanced side after altering their line-up in the last game against KKR. Struggling skipper Ricky Ponting opted to sit out and Rohit Sharma was appointed the man in-charge. The opening pair went in for a change with Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar going out.
Mumbai's middle order has always proved to be their rescue rangers. Dinesh Karthik has been in good touch and he would be itching to get some runs after his failed outings against Delhi and Kolkata. Rohit Sharma has produced some useful knocks along with Keiron Pollard and Ambati Rayadu. who, though, will like to be more consistent.
Tendulkar, who has had a couple of decent outings, hasn't really fired big. However, he would like to change that after being bowled by KKR off-spinner Sunil Narine for just 2 on his 40th birthday.
Mumbai's million-dollar baby Glen Maxwell is yet to get a game this season which has raised a few eyebrows. However, his place in the team continues to remain a mystery with all the current foreign players in the XI doing a decent job.
In the bowling department, Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson has justified his place in the playing XI by picking up nine wickets from five matches supported by fellow pacer Lasith Malinga who has five wickets from five matches.
Spinner Harbhajan Singh had a horror first over in the match against Kolkata where the offspinner conceded 26 runs. His bowling needs to be more incisive than what it has been until now. Pragyan Ojha, their other regular spinner has done reasonably well, picking up wickets at an average of 17.42.
Bangalore on the other hand, haven't done a thing wrong of late. Gayle, who thrashed the record books with the quickest hundred in cricket history, remains their top bet. RCB's batting has been outstanding this season with Gayle and Kohli reserving their seats in the top three of the highest run-getters' list.
Skipper Kohli has amassed 333 runs with a highest score of 93 not out against the Sunrisers Hyderabad earlier while AB de Villiers has been the perfect foil to both Gayle and Kohli, scoring quick runs towards the end.
Pacers Vinay Kumar and Ravi Rampaul have taken care of the seam department very well with Kumar bagging 13 wickets from eight matches, with left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat taking seven wickets in seven matches.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB De Villiers (wk), 5 Saurabh Tiwary, 6 Arun Karthik, 7 Ravi Rampaul, 8 Vinay Kumar, 9 Murali Kartik, 10 RP Singh, 11 Jaydev Unadkat
Mumbai Indians: 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 4 Rohit Sharma (capt), 5 Ambati Rayadu, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Harbhajan Singh, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Yuzvendra Singh Chahal