India captain Virat Kohli will return to bolster Royal Challenger Bangalore’s campaign when they take on arch-rivals Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League here tomorrow.
Kohli had to undergo rehabilitation after sustaining an injury to his right shoulder while fielding during the third Test against Australia in Ranchi and he has been missing in action ever since.
However, the Delhi batsman has been declared fit today by BCCI Medical Team and will look to boost the confidence of RCB, who lost two out of the three matches that they have played so far in his absence.
Kohli, who had dropped hints of making a return after posting a video on his Instagram account of his gym session on April 11, did some fielding drills during the team’s net session, yesterday.
Last year, Kohli had scored a staggering 973 runs in 16 matches with four centuries to guide RCB to the finals against Sunrisers Hyderabad and he would look to improve Bangalore’s current sixth place standing on the points-table.
In Kohli’s absence, AB de Villiers made his presence felt as he smashed his way to an unbeaten 89 off just 46 balls to help RCB post a respectable 148-4 on his comeback match after recovering from an injury.
The single-handed show by the South African, however, couldn’t save the blushes of his team as RCB went down by eight wickets to Kings XI Punjab in their last match.
The poor form of Chris Gayle is also a concern for RCB.
The West Indian power-hitter has been struggling to carve out big scores, which is reflected in his failure to score even one half century in his last 10 innings.
Gayle will be hoping to make a comeback in the team, especially after being dropped in the game against Punjab.
RCB also lost India batsman Lokesh Rahul for the entire tournament owing to an injury and the talented Sarfaraz Khan too hurt himself on the field during a practice match ahead of the tournament.
Kedar Jadhav, meanwhile, has showcased his utility by slamming a 37-ball 69 to help his side score 157 runs during a 15-run win over Delhi Daredevils. He also hit 31 in the opening match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Among bowlers, seamer Billy Stanlake and spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Pawan Negi have been among wickets.
Mumbai, on the other hand, so far have two wins and a loss in the tournament to be placed at the third position on points-table.
Mumbai Indians dominated with both bat and ball to defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets yesterday. Mumbai restricted SRH to 158-8 in 20 overs and then achieved the target in 18.4 overs losing six wickets along the way.
Nitish Rana has been the most successful batsmen for Mumbai as he returned with scores such as 34, 50, 45 in the last three matches.
The top order has been among runs with openers Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler giving Mumbai good starts.
Hardik Padhya delivered in first two matches with the bat while brother Krunal was in business with the ball against KKR and Hyderabad.
With Kireon Pollard not in good form, Mumbai might look to give Asela Gunaratne a chance. Gunaratne can bowl decent medium pacers and also chip in with vital runs with the bat, like he did against Australia in the T20 series. Lendl Simmons too can come in handy.
Among bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga and Mitchell McClenaghan were among wickets in last match. Ashish Nehra too struck the first blow when he bowled Buttler with the first ball of the 4th over in the last match.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), Kieron Pollard, Tim Southee, Jos Buttler (wk), Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nitish Rana, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya,Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Lendl Simmons, Vinay Kumar, Saurabh Tiwary, Karn Sharma, Krishnappa Gowtham, Siddhesh Lad, Nicholas Pooran, Shreyas Gopal, Jitesh Sharma, Deepak Punia, Jagadeesha Suchith, Kulwant Khejroliya
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Shane Watson (capt), Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Stuart Binny, Tymal Mills, Sreenath Aravind, Aniket Choudhary, Yuzvendra Chahal, Pawan Negi, Harshal Patel, Adam Milne, Iqbal Abdulla, Samuel Badree, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake.
Match starts 4pm IST.