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T20 League Mumbai started with a bang with two expected results, even though they both had a margin of victories more than which were expected. Aakash Tigers thumped MWS by five wickets whereas SoBo SuperSonics handed a massive defeat of 48 runs to ARCS Andheri. ARCS Andheri will have a chance to redeem themselves when they take on NaMo Bandra Blasters at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on 15th May. The first two matches of the tournament have yielded unexpectedly one-sided results, but with teams likely to get hold of each other in the coming games, we expect a close encounter not just in this upcoming fixture, but also in all of the coming matches.
NaMo Bandra Blasters are one of the four teams that are yet to play a match in the tournament. While they do not have too many known players in the lineup, the presence of Shreyas Iyer bolsters their batting lineup to a great extent. Other than him, however, there's hardly any noteworthy name and it would be interesting to see who plays the second fiddle if and when Iyer takes the center stage.
Bowling-wise, the Blasters do not really have much to boast about. They have a rather inexperienced unit which could very well go for plenty against a good batting lineup. Having said that, they do have some extremely good bowlers coming on the back of some excellent performances in the local tournaments and they are capable to make an impacting performance.
All in all, the Blasters are a little too over-reliant on Shreyas Iyer, but this should be a worrying factor considering the dependence of almost all teams in this tournament on one or two players.
Shreyas Iyer, Eknath Kerkar, Prasad Pawar, Sujit Nayak, Nikhil Patil, Siddharth Chitnis, Aditya Dhumal, Sagar Chhabria, Saksham Jha, Nikhil Date, Atul Singh.
One of the few teams having already played a match, ARCS would be desperate to fetch important points in the upcoming after their rather one-sided loss to SoBo SuperSonics in their opening encounter. Bowling first on an excellent surface to bat, ARCS Andheri conceded 188 runs and could score only 140 in their allotted 20 overs.
Surprisingly, Iqbal Abdullah is their only player to have good experience of playing in the Indian Premier League which showed in their bowling. Iqbal Abdullah himself wasn't spared as he was taken apart for 47 runs in his four overs. So dismal was their performance with the ball that out of the five wickets taken, only one was credited to a bowler's name with all remaining four wickets being run-outs.
Their batting too turned out to be a disappointing affair for them as none of their batting pairs was able to stitch a partnership - something which is of utmost importance while chasing huge totals. They got off to a decent start of 53 for 0, but Sufiyan Shaikh's dismissal in the seventh over triggered a downfall from which they could never recover.
Kevin Almeida, Sufiyan Shaikh, Akhil Herwadkar, Shubham Ranjane, Gaurav Jathar, Pankaj Jaswal, Vineet Sinha, I Abdulla, Azhar Ansari, Tushar Deshpande, Ankur Singh.
Both the sides are a little light on the players who are capable of hitting it big in the middle overs. While the Blasters have the services of Shreyas Iyer, ARCS Andheri depend largely on their openers and skipper Kevin Almeida - all of whom failed to impress in their first match. On paper, both the sides are almost on par with each other and it will be interesting to see how things pan out on the field. With a better batting lineup and experience of Shreyas Iyer, we think that the NaMo Bandra Blasters are better placed to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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