Rohit Sharma is expected to be the headline absentee when the top two in the Indian Premier League, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, meet on Wednesday (Match Betting – Mumbai Indians 4/5, Royal Challengers Bangalore Evens).
The pair are tied on 14 points from their 11 outings, one fewer than the Delhi Capitals who share their points tally.
Wednesday’s winner in Abu Dhabi could land a significant psychological blow looking towards the playoffs, with the teams knowing a victory will guarantee their place in the post-season.
Mumbai have won the pair’s last two meetings but have been hit hard by the absence of Rohit and lost by eight wickets to the Ben Stokes-inspired Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.
The skipper has been battling a hamstring injury and while he returned to the nets on Monday, his exclusion from India’s squad for the Australia series was seen as telling.
Bangalore also lost their last match by eight wickets to Chennai Super Kings and will be looking for the likes of Aaron Finch and AB de Villiers to do more in support of captain Virat Kohli (7/4 Royal Challengers Bangalore Top Run Scorer).
Kohli is the competition’s fourth top run scorer on 415 and may need a big performance wit the bat, with a split webbing forcing bowling Navdeep Saini to be a doubt, placing further pressure on Chris Morris and Mohammad Siraj.
Indians’ duo Trent Boult (5/2 Mumbai Indians Top Wicket Taker) and Jasprit Bumrah (9/4) have taken 33 wickets between them this season and will lead the attack with support from either James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter Nile.