Navi Mumbai: On a winning streak of three games, Rajasthan Royals have the momentum and inspiration when placed on the bottom and disregarded Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League game here on Saturday.
During this match, the Royals will celebrate the extraordinary life of their only IPL title-winning captain Shane Warne, who died in Thailand last month. A win would be a perfect tribute to the legendary Australian spinner under whose inspiring leadership the Royals had won the 2008 title.
While second-placed Rajasthan has lost just two games and won six, Mumbai is already out of contention for a play-off spot, having lost all eight games to date.
After racking up just 144 runs in their final game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Royals would hope to improve their batters.
Their openers Jos Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal were among the points. Buttler has already slammed three hundred and the challenge for the MI bowlers would be to find ways to stop the marauding Englishman. He and Paddikal would try to continue to give an aggressive start.
Skipper Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetymer have the shots to hammer the Mumbai attack and there’s also the firepower of Riyan Parag, who hit an unbeaten 56 in the final match, and Daryl Mitchell, as the Royals mid-range look good .
A consistent Samson will strive to total his run of 232 from 10 games and build the innings in the event of a top-order failure, as had happened last time when Buttler and Padikkal came out cheap.
The bowlers of the Royals were on top form, both the pacers and the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, the tournament’s leading wicket taker with 18 scalps, who have been doing well so far.
Pacer Trent Boult wreaks havoc and is ably backed up by Prasidh Krishna, who has been effective in the death-overs. With his pitch coming in, Boult can harass Mumbai’s best hitters.
Mumbai, on the other hand, needs a collective effort. The out-of-form opening duo Rohit and Ishan Kishan must find ways to get going and the same goes for the middle-class batters.
Kishan, with 199 runs from eight outings, has not justified its price tag of Rs 15.25 crore.
Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma and Dewald Brewis have had their moments of individual brilliance, but they have to fire at the same time. One of the best hitters will have to score big if Mumbai is to hit a big score or chase a stiff target.
Another concern for Mumbai is the poor form of all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who is no longer the finisher he once was, and the burly West Indian will have to show his six-hitting skills.
Bowling in Mumbai has been an even bigger concern. Spearhead of pace Jasprit Bumrah was at his best, but was not supported by the likes of Jaydev Unadkat, Daniel Sams and Riley Meredith.
If Mumbai chooses a swift strike again, the pacesetters will have to take the right steps to stop Buttler and his company, and will also need support from rookie off-spinner Hrithik Shokeen.
The teams (of):
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c), Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Riyan Parag, Shubham Garwal, Dhruv Jurel, Kuldip Yadav, Kuldeep Sen, Tejas Baroka, Anunay Singh, KC Kariappa, Rassie Van der Dussen, Nathan Coulter Nile, Jimmy Neesham , Daryl Mitchell, Karun Nair, Obed McCoy, Navdeep Saini, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Shimron Hetmyer, Devdutt Padikkal, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Anmolpreet Singh, Rahul Buddhi, Ramandeep Singh, SuryakumarYadav, Tilak Verma, Tim David, Arjun Tendulkar, Basil Thampi, Hrithik Shokeen, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer, Mayank Markande, Murugan , Riley Meredith, Tymal Mills, Kartikeya Singh, Daniel Sams, Dewald Brevis, Fabian Allen, Kieron Pollard, Sanjay Yadav, Aryan Juyal and Ishan Kishan.
Match starts at 7:30 PM.
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