Led by captains with different personalities, both RCB and Mumbai Indians will look to outsmart each other in today's must-win encounter at Bangalore
Bangalore: One team is coming off a situation where their renowned death bowler all but killed them; the other team barely had time to recover from the mauling at a neutral venue.
But, the T20 format is such that neither a one-run win, nor an 85-run loss counts for much in the fresh encounter. Captains may harp on the momentum part but inside their hearts they all know T20 is about the moment.
It's in such a scenario that Royal Challengers Bangalore face off with Mumbai Indians at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium today.
There is a lot in common between the two sides, the more surreal part being that both the powerhouses are placed in the bottom half of the league and a loss or two away from being knocked out.
The teams are led by two of India's best talents with the bat, albeit with one stark difference. While Virat Kohli's consistency across all formats is legendary, Rohit Sharma's rank inconsistency is a punter's nightmare.
RCB captain Virat Kohli (extreme left) celebrates the wicket of a Kings XI Punjab batsman with teammates during an IPL-9 match at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Monday. Pic/AFP
On their days, and it's fair to say that Kohli has far more such days, they can win matches single-handedly. An absolute treat to watch when they are going, neither plays false shots, both don't bother with cheeky singles either and yet leave bowlers' frustrated.
Leadership though is not just about leading from the front and Rohit, with his calm demeanor, does seem to have the edge there.
Tactically, too, Rohit comes across as the better captain and as far as man management goes, anyone who can handle the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Harbhajan Singh, one who often snaps, while the other is known to land a slap or two, has to be good.
Credit to Kohli
Kohli, to his credit, has shown gumption by axing the underperforming Chris Gayle but perhaps it is time to revisit that call and being a little innovative at the same time.
Travis Head isn't really going anywhere and replacing him in the middle order with Gayle could be the way to go. It would also leave Rohit in a spot.
The usual ploy would have been to use either Mitchell McClenaghan or Harbhajan Singh (maybe even both) early on against Gayle, but with the big man batting down the order, Rohit would be in a quandary as to when to bring them on, more so as he would need them to bowl to Kohli and De Villiers too.
T20 then is not just about hits and misses, there is also some chess involved.
Virat Kohli Royal Challengers Bangalore
> Opener Lokesh Rahul continues his fine form
> Shane Watson comes good with bat and ball
> AB de Villiers scores a quickfire 50 again
Rohit Sharma Mumbai Indians
> Batting department does not fail
> All-rounder Krunal Pandya hits form
> Big-hitter Chris Gayle stays unfit