The top two teams in the IPL 2020 points table – Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore will square off against each other on Wednesday (October 28) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Whoever wins this crucial encounter, will be the first team to seal a playoff berth. Delhi Capitals had the opportunity last night but spurned the chance after being thrashed by SRH by a huge margin of 88 runs. The loss allowed Royal Challengers Bangalore to leapfrog them in the points table.
Mumbai Indians are at the summit now with RCB at the second spot and then there is Delhi Capitals, who have slipped to the third position. These three sides have 14 points each with the first team to gather 16 points, qualifying for the playoffs. Thus, we will get our first playoff team after tonight’s encounter.
Both sides are coming into the game on the back of disappointing losses. Mumbai Indians were thwarted by the brilliance of Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson in their last outing. Chasing Mumbai Indians’ handsome total of 195, the duo of Stokes (107* off 60 balls) and Samson (54* off 31 balls) stitched a majestic 152-run stand for the third wicket and took their side to a comfortable victory in the end with 10 balls to spare.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians had won the toss and chose to bat first. Rajasthan Royals did well to restrict them up until the middle overs but then Hardik Pandya (60 off 21 balls; 6×7, 4×2) single-handedly powered them to a solid 195/5, launching a flurry of boundaries at the death. But, ultimately, Pandya’s fireworks went in vain as Mumbai lost their fourth match of the season.
RCB, on the other hand, lost to the dismal Chennai Super Kings in their last game which surely caught everyone by surprise. The Virat Kohli-led side were the overwhelming favourites going into the game but their batting let them down on that day. Opting to bat first, RCB could only conjure up 145/6 from their innings and in reply CSK cruised to a 8-wicket win with 8 balls to spare.
Only Virat Kohli’s 50 and AB de Villiers’ 39 were the saving grace for them and the loss came as a rude wake-up call to them. Their over-reliance on Kohli and de Villiers is not new and can be exploited by Mumbai Indians in tonight’s clash.
While Kohli is the fourth-highest run-scorer of IPL 2020 at the moment, he is yet to fully shift gears and has looked rusty at times. AB de Villiers looks like the most potent weapon in their armoury and has rescued several games for them from the jaws of defeat in this edition.
Mumbai Indians, though, won’t be too bothered by their last defeat. They have missed the services of their skipper Rohit Sharma – who is out injured and have lost some of their steam in the process. On paper they look like the better side with the sheer depth they have amidst their ranks. They will thus start as the favourites in this one although they need to tighten the screws in the bowling department.
The league stage is coming to a close and it has brought us here – Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore – one of these two is going to enter the playoffs tonight.