Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli celebrates with teammates after beating Kings XI Punjab ( KXIP) during the IPLmatch at I S Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Saturday, April 13, 2019. Image Credit: PTI

Mumbai: For the first time in this edition of the Indian Premier League, Royal Challengers Bangalore will go into a game as favourites. After a convincing win against Kings XI Punjab, RCB will now take on Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.

While Mumbai Indians are seated third on the points table with four wins from seven games, they lost their last match against Rajasthan Royals at the same venue on Saturday.

On the other hand, even though RCB is placed last on the table with just one win in seven outings, the fact that they beat KXIP at home on Saturday will surely motivate them further.

Speaking after Saturday’s game, while Kohli had mentioned how his players still have the desire to go out and express themselves, Man of the Match AB de Villiers had rung the warning bell for the opposition saying he loves playing at the Wankhede. Not good signs for Rohit Sharma and his boys for sure.

De Villiers said on Saturday that he was waiting a long time to return to form after an inconsistent run so far in the season. The former Proteas skipper also hoped that he can now maintain the momentum.

“Waited for a long time for this, so we’re very happy. It’s a very small step in the right direction, but also a big one. I’ve got too much respect of the game to be upset about that, to get ahead of myself, to get too hard on myself. It needs one knock to get back in that confidence zone, and hopefully I can maintain that now,” he said.

Having had a tough run, de Villiers said that the sole reason behind him quitting international cricket was that he wanted to be sharp for the little time that he is on the field as it is impossible to maintain momentum for 10-11 months a year having played top-flight cricket for so long.

“That’s exactly the reason I’ve decided not to play international cricket — to be as sharp as I can in the other forms of cricket around the world. Can’t keep playing 10-11 months a year and keep being sharp after 15 of my career. Get to work with the university guys, the local guys, which gives me the motivation to be an example for them.”

With Dale Steyn joining the squad, the bowling too will wear a bolstered look. In fact, uncapped Navdeep Saini would like to take the opportunity of learning from the pro in the remaining games. Saini has by far been the most impressive bowler for RCB and Mumbai Indians too would look to play him cautiously.

In the batting department, Mumbai have little worries as both Rohit and opening partner Quinton de Kock have been in fine form. With Kieron Pollard also showing that he still has match-winning abilities and Hardik Pandya finishing with a bang in almost all games, the batting part of things look sorted for the home team.

The same though cannot be said about the bowling as only Krunal Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah have looked good on a consistent basis. While one can’t be too harsh on the bowlers considering that the wicket at the Wankhede is known to aide batsmen, but considering the RCB line-up, Rohit will definitely want his boys to pull up their socks.