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MI facing a tough task

Dubai: A confident Royal Challengers Bangalore would look to carry on their winning momentum when they take on title holders Mumbai Indians here on Saturday.

The Mumbai outfit may be short on confidence, after the thrashing they received at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders, in the opening match of Indian Premier League. RCB opened their IPL VII campaign on a resounding note, as they crushed a new-look Delhi Daredevils by eight wickets in Sharjah last night.

Yuvraj Singh, who faced immense criticism after his disappointing knock in the ICC World Twenty20 final, silenced his detractors with a brilliant unbeaten 52. He, along with captain Virat Kohli (49 not out), scored 84 runs in just 7.9 overs for the unconquered third wicket stand, to help RCB chase down Daredevils’ 145-run target with 20 balls to spare.

RCB missed the services of the explosive Chris Gayle, who is down with a back injury, but it hardly made any impact on their chase.

The decision of RCB, who had retained big boys Kohli, Gayle and AB de Villiers for the seventh edition, to shell out a whopping Rs 14 crore for Yuvraj, bore fruit as the left-hander justified his price tag with the brilliant half-century.

RCB’s best finish in IPL have been in 2011, when they finished runners-up. This time around, they would be hoping to ride on the performances of the big boys to clinch their maiden IPL title. The bowling was considered to be their weak link, but against the Daredevils on Thursday, their bowlers did just enough to restrict the opponents to a modest 145 for four.

While Mitchell Starc generated pace even though he went for a few runs, Albie Morkel and Varun Aaron were right on their money. In fact Aaron (1/9 in 3 overs) bowled a misery spell but Bengal pacer Ashok Dinda leaked runs. The star of the day was young leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his spell of 4-0-18-1.

Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, have plenty of work to do both, after their 41-run loss to KKR.

Barring Zaheer Khan (1/23) and the ever-reliable Lasith Malinga (4/23), Mumbai’s bowling performance against KKR can be termed as pathetic.

On the batting front too, Mumbai lacked sting to chase down the 164-run target set by KKR. Mumbai's batsmen seemed all at sea against West Indian mystery spinner Sunil Narine. It seemed they had no clue as how to read Narine, who snared four wickets to rattle the defending champion’s chase.