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Cricket news - Bumrah set to play as RCB, MI search first points

RCB will look to make the most of home conditions to get their campaign back on track

Let's get facts out of the way first - Jasprit Bumrah is a serious threat and teams often spend quite a bit of time decoding plans against him. So it didn't really come as a surprise that Royal Challengers Bangalore invited Mukesh Kumar to bowl at their nets. The fairly unknown entity, Kumar, who used to play Under-19 cricket for Karnataka, has remodelled his action to mirror Bumrah's in the last two years. Spotted by Ashish Nehra, the pacer spent most of the time bowling to batsmen - the Indian domestic ones who haven't seen much of Bumrah - in the two days leading up to the game against Mumbai Indians.

The uncertainty continued over Bumrah with the Mumbai Indians camp refusing to reveal if the pacer is match fit. He'll be assessed before the game but if the practice session is anything to go by, Bumrah looks very likely to play. Bumrah bowled for a while at the session, with all of MI's main bowlers - Hardik Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan and Rasikh Salam - and had the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Kieran Pollard in a tangle more often than not.

Even with Bumrah playing, Virat Kohli and the batsmen will still fancy their chances on a much better batting track after the under-prepared one in Chennai saw them fold for just 70. The performance should be a one-off but the key could well be how well they bounce back from the opening loss. A clinical win - against a rival that holds the edge over them - could well set their campaign rolling.

Bumrah's fitness isn't the only worry line bothering MI. The fact that their power-packing batting line-up was dented frequently by Delhi Capitals, on a good batting track, should attract some scrutiny. Quinton de Kock, traded off to MI this season by RCB, will have to play a key role while the team will bank on Rohit Sharma, back in his preferred opening position, to produce the goods.

In the last season, MI won just one game in their first five and that had a telling impact on their campaign. They did manage to keep their chances alive till the very last game but the opening few losses meant they played the second half of the tournament with no room for errors. De Kock stressed the team had taken note of the fact and the emphasis is on improving their execution under pressure. Starting troubles have hurt MI for a few seasons now and the side will be desperate to ensure that isn't the case this time.

What: RCB v MI, March 28, 20:00 IST, 1430 GMT

Where: M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

What to expect: First up, a warm day and slightly cooler evening with no weather hindrance. The bowlers will have to bring their 'A' game with the track set to assist the batsmen. In the last T20I played at the venue, Glenn Maxwell cantered to a century against India in a game that saw the bowlers struggling because of the dew. Expect teams to chase keeping that in mind.

Team news:

RCB: Despite the disappointing performance against Chennai Super Kings, the home side will more or less stick with the same playing XI.

Probable XI: Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (c), Moeen Ali, AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Colin de Grandhomme, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Siraj.

MI: Lasith Malinga will join the squad on Thursday and is highly unlikely to play the contest. Barring any last minute issues with Bumrah, the side should go in with the same XI that took on DC.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieran Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rasikh Salam, Jasprit Bumrah.

What they said:

The execution is always key no matter what plans you have. We have the best death bowler. Bumrah is the best in the world. With a guy like that, it's okay to be off the mark in one game knowing he's going to come back strong. He's not one of the best for no reason. Even the others, Mitch and Hardik, I know they are going to bounce back - Quinton de Kock.

It's hard every single game I play. You look at the strengths and then you look at the weaknesses. No one is perfect. He is a very good bowler but it's also possible to get hold of him, especially on this ground with not so big boundaries. All the bowlers, no matter who you are, are under pressure here - AB de Villiers.

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