It is all or nothing for Rajasthan Royals (RR) as they take on mighty Mumbai Indians (MI) in the 36th match of the ongoing edition of Indian Premier League (IPL). Royals' skipper Ajinkya Rahane would be hoping for a miraculous performance from his team to upset the side led by Rohit Sharma for the second time in this tournament.
On the other hand, Mumbai will be going all guns blazing as a win against Rajasthan could give them a chance to be on par with table-toppers Chennai Super Kings, which has 14 points as of now.
This will be the second instance when these two teams will be squaring off against each other in the tournament. Last time when they met, England’s wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler completely annihilated Mumbai’s bowling line-up and played a swashbuckling knock of 81off just 52 deliveries to take his team to the winning target.
Just like Royal Challengers Bangalore, the franchise Rajasthan has also been guilty of making really bad decisions on the cricketing field. Even after 7 games, no one knows what the batting order should. We saw Ajinkya Rahane opening the batting for the team in the first six games, then suddenly Rahul Tripathi was introduced as an opener in the last game. The team management and the skipper would need to clear the doubts on who should open the batting and who should strengthen the middle-order with his batting skills.
Tripathi should be given one more chance to open the innings as he scored a good half-century in the last game but sadly ended up being on the losing side. Meanwhile, Rahane should come at 4 and play his natural game. Trying too many things can become his doom in white-ball cricket. And if they need to win this match, then they need their skipper to play a captain’s knock.
The onus of scoring most of the runs will be on Jos Buttler (311 runs, 8 matches) and Sanju Samson (204 runs, 6 matches). Both the players are in great touch and would want to continue their good form in today’s game too.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if they give another chance to Ashton Turner or former Australian skipper Steve Smith will be back into the playing XI.
In the bowling department, Jofra Archer (10 wickets, 8 games) will be spearheading the pace attack along with Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat. Archer has been a revelation for the Royals this season. He keeps his line & length tight and always ends up getting wickets at crucial times of the match.
The ‘Men in Blue’ are high on confidence as they come into this game with an amazing victory over Delhi Capitals in their own backyard. The side led by Rohit Sharma will be looking to capitalize on the current form of Rajasthan and win three games on the trot.
The batting line-up of Mumbai is getting better and better after every game. Quinton de Kock is in sublime touch while his partner and skipper Rohit Sharma is slowly getting his ‘mojo’ back. With two half-centuries to his name, De Kock has scored 313 runs in 9 games that he has played so far in this season. He is currently at the fifth spot in the list of highest run-getters this year.
The South African wicketkeeper-batsman will be looking unleash his wrath on the Rajasthan bowling line-up to continue his golden run in white-ball cricket as the World Cup approaches.
It is yet to be seen if Jayant Yadav will get a second chance to prove his worth to the team management and the skipper. Yadav came into the side in place of Ishan Kishan, who was sick in the clash against Delhi Capitals. So, it will be interesting to see what Rohit Sharma chooses – a proper batsman or an all-rounder?
Meanwhile, another all-rounder, Hardik Pandya is taking his game to a whole new level before the World Cup. A blistering knock of 32 off just 15 deliveries against Delhi showed everyone that he is the player to watch out for in the tournament. The skipper will be hoping for an amazing cameo from the 25-year-old cricketer at the end of the innings so they can achieve a win or put a big total on the board.
On the other hand, the bowling department of Mumbai Indians is probably the best in the tournament. Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga have been doing wonders for their team since the start of the tournament while the young spinner, Rahul Chahar, showed his true worth in the game against Delhi.
Chahar showed his variations and also showed how badly Mumbai needed his services. While Krunal Pandya is giving him the much-needed support from the other end.
HEAD TO HEAD
TOTAL MATCHES PLAYED – 22
MI WON – 11
RR WON – 10
NO RESULT – 1
MUMBAI INDIANS – Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, and Lasith Malinga.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS – Rahul Tripathi, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane (C), Ashton Turner/Steve Smith, Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Ish Sodhi.
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About the Author
Sports Journalist by profession, a Cricket Fanatic by passion. Aayush Sharma has been following the game of cricket since childhood and considers Sachin Tendulkar as his idol. When in free time, he loves to read books or go out and play some gully cricket with friends. For him, Tennis ace Roger Federer and F1 Legend Michael Schumacher are the only sportspersons that reach the level of Tendulkar