If SKY is an unconventional batter, leggie Wanindu Hasaranga is an equally eccentric bowler.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will meet the Mumbai Indians (MI) in game 18 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune on Saturday. This will be the evening game of the double header. Bangalore have found good rhythm in IPL 2022, winning both their last two matches after going down to the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the first. They defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by three wickets and followed it up with a four-wicket win over the Rajasthan Royals (RR). As for MI, they have lost three of three. After conceding the first match to the Delhi Capitals (DC) by four wickets, they lost to RR by 23 runs and KKR by five wickets. Here are five player battles in the RCB vs MI clash.

1. Faf du Plessis vs Jasprit Bumrah: RCB skipper Faf du Plessis made a rollicking start to his IPL 2022 campaign with a sublime knock against PBKS. However, he has not got big scores in subsequent innings. Being the captain, Du Plessis will be keen to improve his consistency and come up with a good knock against MI. If he gets going, the South African will score at a quick pace, without a doubt. Jasprit Bumrah will be RCB’s biggest threat in the match against MI. Although Mumbai are struggling, he can make a big impact single-handedly. Du Plessis will know that if he can see out Bumrah, the task for RCB batters will be easier against the other bowlers. An interesting cat and mouse game is in the offing.

2. Ishan Kishan vs Mohammed Siraj: MI opener Ishan Kishan has been in terrific form for the franchise, barring the last game in which he struggled. He smashed the ball off the middle in the first two games. With MI captain Rohit Sharma not looking in great rhythm, Ishan will be expected to take the additional responsibility of striking early. He will have to get the team off to a flying start if Mumbai are to post a good total. RCB pacer Mohammed Siraj has proved to be expensive in the tournament. But he has the extra pace to trouble Ishan. Can he utilize his talent to knock over the aggressive left-hander early?

3. Dinesh Karthik vs Tymal Mills: RCB finisher Dinesh Karthik has been in terrific form for the franchise. He is yet to be dismissed and has registered scores of 32 in 14, 14 in 7, and 44 in 23. In the last match, Rajasthan’s bowlers seemed to be dominant. However, Karthik came in and blasted seven fours and a six to turn the contest. MI left-arm pacer Tymal Mills has the tendency of being expensive, but he also has the knack of picking up wickets. Mumbai would not mind him giving away a few boundaries if he could dismiss Karthik. He will need to get his line and length spot on against the RCB dasher, though.

4. Suryakumar Yadav vs Wanindu Hasaranga: Suryakumar Yadav scored a typically fluent half-century for MI on his return to the side following injury. He loves playing unorthodox strokes and will look to continue the same against RCB as well. If SKY is an unconventional batter, leggie Wanindu Hasaranga is an equally eccentric bowler. Suryakumar will have to go after him as he will be coming in during the second half. With two amazing talents, this could be a close contest that can have a game-changing impact.

5. Glenn Maxwell vs Murugan Ashwin: Saturday’s clash will mark the return of Glenn Maxwell to the RCB camp. The Big Show, who got married recently, will be keen to begin his IPL 2022 journey on a high, carrying on from where he left off last year. MI leggie Murugan Ashwin has done a decent job for the franchise so far. He is likely to come up against Maxwell on Saturday. The latter will have the advantage in the battle, but can Ashwin catch him with his variations?

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