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Struggling MI have tough task against strong RCB

Misfiring Mumbai Indians, struggling to get their team combination right, will take on the formidable batting might of Royal Challengers Bangalore in a potentially explosive IPL clash at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday.

RCB, on the other hand, have a tricky bowling combination to set right in the absence of injured Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Starc -- ruled out of the season -- and miserly leggie Samuel Badree, who is yet to make an appearance in the T20 league after picking up an injury during West Indies’ triumphant run in the World T20 championship.

The Bangalore side will, however, miss the services of big-hitting West Indian Chris Gayle, who has returned home to Jamaica to see his new-born son. MI and RCB have fought tooth and nail since 2008 with the IPL result score-line reading 9-8 in favour of the hosts, who have tasted defeat three times in four games this season, including in the last two, in their bid to retain the crown that they won after a similar, poor beginning in 2015.

Last season, the score was tied 1-1 with each team outsmarting the other in their respective away games.

RCB come into the needle clash after being flattened by South African wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock’s masterly hundred, the first ton by any batsman this season, and they will need to quickly correct their bowling combination. Two-time title winners, MI have slumped to defeats in both their home matches this season - to IPL debutants Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions - and they would be keen to score their first win on their traditional home ground in one of the two remaining games scheduled at the Wankhede Stadium before they move to Jaipur, which will become their new home for rest of the season. Mumbai’s top-order batting has been miserable so far barring the clash against Kolkata Knight Riders, another two-time champion outfit, when captain Rohit Sharma’s superbly compiled unbeaten 84 led them to victory.

RCB to miss Gayle, Pollard available for MI
RCB’s star batsman Chris Gayle will miss at least the next two IPL games as he has gone back to the West Indies to be with his partner Natasha Berridge and new-born son, while Kieron Pollard of Mumbai Indians is now fit for Wednesday’s match. 

Gayle will miss Wednesday’s away game against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium here and also the next game against Rising Pune Supergiants in Pune on Friday. RCB face Gujarat Lions on Sunday in Rajkot. Gayle’s RCB teammate Sarfaraz Khan said it was still not known how many games he would miss. “He has got a son. He’s gone back to see him,” said Sarfaraz at the pre-match media conference on Tuesday.
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