It’s do-or-die game for MI, RCB

The reverse game between hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) here on Wednesday here would be a do-or-die battle for both teams in advancing to the play-offs, says Mumbai all-rounder Hardik Pandya.


“Pressure is on both of us. We know that it’s going to be a do-or-die match, as the team that loses would have less hope of making it to play-offs,” he told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the league tie at the Chinnaswamy stadium.


Though Mumbai is ahead in the points table at fifth place with 10 points from 5 wins in 10 games, the home team is at sixth place with 8 points from 4 wins in 9 games and has a better net run rate (NRR) — +0.032 than -0.447 of the former.


“Let us see who takes the pressure and comes out winning. Obviously, RCB is a side that looks good and confident, especially on its home turf. But pressure will be on them as well,” the Baroda lad said before going into a two-hour practice session.


A win for two-time titleholders Mumbai will propel them back into the top four while RCB will displace it if it maintains the winning streak from the two previous games, including one here over Pune Rising Supergiants on May 7 and a thrilling 1-run victory over Kings XI Punjab at Mohali on Monday.


With home advantage, RCB will also look for avenging its 6-wicket loss to Mumbai on April 20 in Mumbai and cash-in on its good form while Mumbai is coming after a 85-run humiliating loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad at Visakhapatnam on May 8.


“We don’t think much about the result of the last game as whatever happened is a part of history. We are looking forward to the Bangalore match on the morrow. We would like to play as good as possible and are preparing for it,” said Pandya.


Acknowledging that RCB had powerful batsmen like A.B. de Villiers and Virat Kohli, he said bowlers like him would have to be positive of their ability and prepare to face them with confidence.


“We have to be ready for everything as bowlers. But it would not be wise to give away 40 runs in 4 overs, which will work against us. We cannot be complacent against star players like AB or Virat. We have to wait for them to make mistakes than struggle to bowl them out,” said the right-arm medium pacer.


Asked if his team has specific plans to contain Kolhi, de Villiers and Chris Gayle from going after bowlers on a strong batting ground, Pandya said their plan was to be on top of the game by giving their best in bowling and fielding.


“We all know how good RCB is a batting unit. Our bowlers, including me need to be on top of the game. That’s how we cope with the batting challenge of rival teams with a plan and scheme to win over. We also need to remain positive,” he added.

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