Tuesday, May 28, 2024

IPL 2024: Focus on old warriors Kohli and Rohit as Mumbai take on RCB


Share post:

Mumbai, April 10: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been the mainstay of the national team and their respective franchises for more than a decade, scoring runs, winning matches, and leading their teams to titles at various levels. As Mumbai Indians get ready to take on Royal Challengers Bengaluru in Match 25 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, the focus shifts to the two old warlords who have a lot at stake in this year’s tournament.

Both Rohit and Virat have fought numerous battles on the cricket field, they have led their respective teams, played under each other’s captaincy at the national level and have crossed swords in the IPL on many occasions in the last 17 years.

But IPL 2024 brings new and different challenges for both of them. Despite leading Mumbai Indians to five titles so far, Rohit Sharma was unceremoniously dumped as captain as the franchise opted for the youngster Hardik Pandya, bringing him back from Gujarat Captain and appointing him the captain in a move that surprised the ardent fans, resulting in Pandya being booed in the first three matches.

Rohit’s challenge is to prove that he is still captaincy material besides being one of the best batters in white-ball cricket. With skipper Hardik struggling to get his feet in, there has been talk of the franchise asking Rohit to take over, though those rumours have died down a bit after Mumbai Indians won the match against Delhi Capitals a couple of days back. Rohit has so far scored 118 runs in four matches with a 49 against DC last week. He looked to be getting back in form during that knock and Thursday’s encounter with RCB will be another chance for him to get the big score that he looks so capable of.

Virat Kohli’s problems are altogether of a different kind. He is the Orange Cap holder currently leading the run-scorers chart with 316 runs from five matches with the highest score of 113 not out that he scored in their last match against Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur. Besides that century, his eighth in IPL and ninth overall in T20 cricket, Kohli has also scored two half-centuries.

His problem is not runs, he has scored plenty of them already, but how he has scored them — at a strike rate of 146.29. His strike rate in the match against RR has earned him a lot of criticism as RCB could manage only 183 runs and lost the match — Jos Buttler scored a century of his own and won the match for Rajasthan Royals. Kohli’s failure to accelerate in the last few overs meant RCB could not get close to a score of 200 or beyond which could have made their opponent’s task a bit more difficult.

Tim David, Mumbai Indians’ Australian batter, hoped that Kohli would not manage to score big against them at the Wankhede on Thursday.

“Obviously, you have world-class players right throughout the order. So Virat’s at the top of that list. He’s playing well. It’s great for the competition when he’s scoring runs. I think he scored enough, so hopefully, he can get out cheaply in this match and give something for the Mumbai fans to cheer,” said David during the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

While Kohli has fired for RCB, the others have not been able to contribute much and their next best scorer is skipper Faf du Plessis with 109 in five matches with a highest score of 44. Cameron Green, who moved from Mumbai Indians to Royal Challengers Bengaluru before the season, has not done much so far and has struggled to find his feet in that squad of superstars.

RCB’s English pacer Reece Topley said it is too early to make an assessment and say the overseas players have not performed.

“I don’t think anyone needs to be an expert to sort of look at everyone’s performances and say they haven’t been up to scratch. And that’s all aspects of the game and obviously, now we’ve had five games. I think the exciting part is that it’s still relatively young into the tournament, so there’s a lot still to play for. And what’s exciting is that there’s a lot of time to turn that around and still showcase how good we are,” said Topley in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

RCB started their campaign with a defeat against defending champions Chennai Super Kings on the opening day at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. In five matches, they have won only one — a four-wicket win against Punjab Kings at home.

Mumbai too started poorly, losing their first three matches to Gujarat Titans, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals before they opened their account with a win over Delhi Capitals.

Mumbai Indians dominated the DC attack and managed to score 234/5 thanks mainly to Romario Shepherd, who blasted 10-ball 39 not out, including 32 off the final over of the innings. Shepherd, playing his first full match for Mumbai Indias, was in devastating form and his innings seemed to have instilled confidence in Hardik Pandya’s side.

Skipper Hardik Pandya said Mumbai Indians have identified the nucleus of their playing XI and barring a tweak here and there, will stick to it. He was also happy that the team had found the winning momentum and hoped that they would continue with that.

On the bowling front, Jasprit Bumrah has been their best bowler, though he has not been given the new ball except in the previous match. Gerald Coetzee is getting into his groove as he proved with a four-fer against Rajasthan Royals. Akash Madhwal too came back strongly in the final over against RR.

Mumbai Indians will be looking for other blazing innings from Rohit and will also be hoping that their middle-order batters like Tim David, Romario Shepherd, and Hardik Pandya capitalise on that.

Both teams have played each other on 32 occasions so far with Mumbai Indians winning 18 matches and RCB emerging victorious in 14. Mumbai have a great record at the Wankhede, having won more than 50 matches at home. RCB, however, have struggled to fire in at Wankhede.



Related articles

Tribal youth lynched in Bengal’s Jalpaiguri, five arrested

Shillong, May 28: A tribal youth was lynched by eight people at Nagrakata in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district,...

Janhvi Kapoor talks about her ‘Zingaat’ viral dance with Rihanna

Shillong, May 28: Bollywood's Gen-Z diva Janhvi Kapoor shared details about her viral video dancing to the track...

Pune Porsche crash: Special probe panel reaches Sassoon Hospital

Shillong, May 28: Taking a grim view of the blood sample change of the prime accused in the...

Thousands evacuated from still-active landslide in Papua New Guinea

Shillong, May 28: Thousands of residents are being evacuated from the still-active massive landslide in Papua New Guinea's...