SPORTS

Mum­bai In­di­ans’ Sharma looks for maiden win this sea­son as he locks horns with his In­dia cap­tain Kohli-led RCB tonight

DNA (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - G Kr­ish­nan guru.kr­ish­nan@dnain­dia.net (Above) RCB and In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli dur­ing a pro­mo­tional event in Mum­bai on Mon­day —HEMANT PADALKAR/DNA .

Cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli and his deputy in lim­ited-overs Ro­hit Sharma square off as MI take on RCB in Mum­bai to­day

Mum­bai: Tues­day’s tie will not only be a con­test be­tween In­dia cap­tain across all for­mats, Vi­rat Kohli, and his deputy in lim­ited-overs and stand-in skip­per Ro­hit Sharma, it will also be a match in which Mum­bai In­di­ans will look for their first win af­ter three de­feats, when they take on Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore at home.

For Sharma-led MI, two of the de­feats have come off the last ball and the other one off the penul­ti­mate de­liv­ery of the match. These re­sults could have gone ei­ther way, but the Blue Brigade ought to have won them com­fort­ably by putting up enough runs. How­ever, they lost the plot and lost wick­ets in the mid­dle-overs.

RCB, who have one win from three matches, give MI com­pany in the bot­tom half of the ta­ble and will look for that win­ning mo­men­tum if they are to re­alise their dream of lift­ing the elu­sive tro­phy for the first time.

MI have been in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions be­fore – hav­ing lost first four matches con­sec­u­tively in 2015 and go­ing on to win the ti­tle in 2015 and los­ing their first five in 2014 and go­ing on to enter the Play­offs.

But, Ro­hit and Co. know that ev­ery day is not Sun­day. They will have to look them­selves in the mir­ror and see where they fal­tered to not put any point on the board. Bar­ring IPL debu­tant leg-spin­ner Mayank Markande, MI bowlers have let them down. They have the wil­i­est at­tack in Jasprit Bum­rah and Bangladesh left-armer Mustafizur Rah­man.

Even Markande, hav­ing gone for under six an over in his first two matches, faced harsh re­al­ity when he went wick­et­less and gave away runs aplenty. Sharma not scor­ing big also is a fac­tor in MI not hav­ing their first points yet. Bat­ting up the or­der in the first two matches with West Indies’ big-hit­ting left-han­der Evin Lewis, he dropped him­self to No. 4 while send­ing Suryaku­mar Ya­dav up.

Sharma, reg­u­larly an opener for In­dia in lim­ite­dovers, has given up this in IPL to lend sta­bil­ity in the back end of the in­nings. He has done so in pre­vi­ous sea­sons and has borne fruits. How­ever, not this IPL yet.

It will just be a mat­ter of time be­fore Sharma starts fir­ing and his team starts win­ning.

RCB, on the other hand, have a bet­ter fire­power in bat­ting. Led by Kohli, who was open­ing for his fran­chise in the pre­vi­ous sea­sons but has gone to his orig­i­nal In­dia po­si­tion of No. 3, will look to score big.

Hav­ing set­tled down in this city af­ter mar­riage late last year, Kohli has not re­ally been strug­gling for runs like his coun­ter­part Sharma and has got starts.

RCB have other bat­ting pow­er­houses in Bren­don McCul­lum and AB de Vil­liers, who have not re­ally set this IPL on fire.

Kohli, the tac­ti­cian, has the up­per­hand against Sharma. The MI skip­per’s choice of send­ing Hardik Pandya to open the bowl­ing against DD, and not ei­ther of his best bowlers Bum­rah or Rah­man against DD back­fired as DD sent the In­dia all-rounder to the clean­ers. It was too late for Bum­rah or any other premier bowler to re­pair the dam­age.

There was no such is­sues for Kohli, who wisely used his off-spin­ner Wash­ing­ton Sun­dar to open the bowl­ing and was suc­cess­ful, con­tain­ing the RR bats­men in­side the Power Play.

There is ev­ery­thing to play for. Whether it is Sharma’s ex­pe­ri­ence of lead­ing MI to three ti­tles in the past or Kohli’s strate­gic moves that come out vic­to­ri­ous, the fans will in for a de­light­ful treat.

(Left) Ro­hit Sharma

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.