After their thrilling Super Over bout earlier in the season, Mumbai and Bangalore will clash once again in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, with the stakes raised by manifold. While the winner will book a spot in the playoffs, the loser will be left in a precarious position as the playoffs inch closer.
Mumbai to hit more sixes than Bangalore
Sixes. Sixes. Sixes. In case you know Mumbai are ought to play in the evening, buckle up your seat belts and put your trust in the Blues to take you on a six-hitting journey - they will deliver. In 11 matches this season, Mumbai have hit a mind-boggling 100 sixes, 43 more than Bangalore’s tally of 57. Ideally, this one statistic should settle it, but let’s delve further. While the Blues, this season, have four different batsmen who have struck 15 or more sixes, the Reds, on the other hand, have just two batsmen who have crossed double digits. In fact, Ishan Kishan is the third highest six-hitter in the entire competition, with 20 sixes, and has the best sixes-per-match ratio of any batsman who has hit more than 15 sixes. In the last H2H clash between these two sides, while Bangalore struck 10 sixes, Mumbai, despite ending up on the losing side, pummelled 16 maximums. Having struck 12 maximums in their last encounter versus Rajasthan, Mumbai are well-warmed up to inflict pain on a jittery Bangalore side.
Mumbai to score more runs in the powerplay
A hallmark of Mumbai Indians’ batting this season has been their aggression up front, and, more often than not, particularly in the second half of the season, the batsmen have come out all guns blazing right from ball one. The defending champions have the best average powerplay score amongst all teams in the competition (46.54) and they have achieved this by never taking the foot off the gas. Bangalore, in comparison, have only scored 43.36 on average in the powerplay, and this is the fifth-worst tally in the competition. How Mumbai get this advantage is by striking boundaries. The Blues’ tally of 7.54 boundaries per innings in the powerplay is the best amongst all sides in IPL, while for Bangalore, this tally sits at a pretty average 6.18. With Rohit expected to sit out tomorrow’s match, Ishan Kishan will get another go up top and the southpaw has been a dynamite. In the two matches he has opened, Mumbai have scored 59 and 56 in the first six overs, significantly better than their average of 46.5. Having not crossed the 50-run mark inside the first six overs in each of their last three games, it is hard to see Bangalore racking up a higher PP score than Mumbai on Wednesday.
Ishan Kishan to be Mumbai’s top batsman
Backing someone to be the Top batsman is always risky, but such has been Ishan Kishan’s form that it’s completely worth taking a punt on this. Ever since walking into the Mumbai side as Tiwary’s replacement, Kishan has not only been a revelation, he has also transformed Mumbai into a dominant force. The pocket-rocket has scored 298 runs this season, second-highest amongst Mumbai batsmen, but it’s his recent promotion that makes this bet enticing. Kishan has opened in his last two games, scoring 37 and 68*, and numbers show that up top is where he’s best at. Dating back to his Gujarat Lions days, Kishan, as an opener in the IPL, has averaged 40.5 (14 more than any other position). In fact, it was only two games ago that he was Mumbai’s top batsman versus Chennai, where he scored a fine, unbeaten 68. He will have fond memories of the previous RCB clash too, where he struck an unflinching 99 to almost take Mumbai over the line in what was one of the greatest IPL knocks of all time. A risky bet, yes, but there won’t be a safer risky bet, if that makes sense.