Dubai: All eyes will be on the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Monday when two of the best cricketers-cum-captains of modern-day cricket, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, will square off in an IPL league encounter that promises fireworks.
From the leadership perspective in the league's history, the Rohit-led Mumbai Indians (MI) have dominated their IPL exchanges against Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), having registered 16 wins from 25 games while the opponents have managed nine. MI have won IPL title four times and the RCB hasn't won the coveted trophy even once in 12 previous attempts.
In batting, Rohit looks in fine touch with the willow. He led from the front against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and scored a brilliant 54-ball 80 and powered his side to a massive 195/5. On the other hand, Kohli's bat has remained silent in the past two outings so far; the run-machine has managed only 15 runs.
Undoubtedly, Kohli would not just eye a win against MI, but will also try to rectify the errors made by him with the bat as RCB heavily relies on him while chasing or setting up a total. Meanwhile, AB de Villers, the other vital cog in RCB, too will aim to get some runs under his belt.
Similarly, young Devdutt Padikkal began his IPL career with a magnificent half-century but tasted failure against KXIP when scored just one run. The 20-year-old player will surely aim to be consistent. The RCB team management will once again hope the young opener would provide a flying start against one of the best team in business.
However, it wouldn't be an easy task for Padikkal with MI's armoury boasting of bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, James Pattinson, and Trent Boult. Padikkal opening partner is once again likely to be destructive batter Aaron Finch as the team management won't like to tinker much with their combination.
Finch would try to convert starts into massive totals while de Villers is expected to come up with fireworks in the middle-order as Shivam Dube and Josh Philippe have failed to fire so far. Philippe's batting position will be another concern for the RCB skipper and team management.
In their bowling department, RCB possesses lethal South African pacer Dale Steyn and Umesh Yadav. However, the duo has been expensive until now and the same is the condition of Navdeep Saini. Kohli might drop either Umesh or Saini against MI, and give Mohammad Siraj a chance.
Yuzvendra Chahal, who came with breakthroughs in both games, will once again share most of the spin workload.
On the other side, MI was clinical in all the departments of the game against KKR and will once again aim to keep the momentum going.
Their top-order, comprising Rohit, de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav, are in great form but the MI team management will be concerned about Saurabh Tiwary, who failed to do much against KKR. The Jharkhand batsman would possibly warm the bench and his state teammate Ishan Kishan could be inducted into the playing XI.
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya and Keiron Pollard are once again expected to come with fireworks down the order and the duo is expected to equally share the bowling workload.
The spin attack will rely on leggie Rahul Chahar, who hasn't played his part to perfection so far. However, with the tracks getting more low and slow as the tournament progress, Rahul is expected to play a crucial role with the ball.
Overall, with two of the best captains locking horns, another mouth-watering clash is on the cards on Monday evening.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, Aditya Tare, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaspreet Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Mohsin Khan, Prince Balwant Rai Singh, Digvijay Deshmukh, Jayant Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Chris Morris, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shivam Dubey, Aaron Finch, Umesh Yadav, Adam Zampa, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Dale Steyn, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Isuru Udana, Devdutt Padikkal, Shahbaz Ahamad, Joshua Philippe, Pavan Deshpande