Fast running out of time, a struggling Rajasthan Royals will hope to complete the double against Mumbai Indians in a return-leg IPL fixture and revive their campaign in Jaipur on Saturday. With six losses and two wins, hosts Rajasthan Royals are languishing at the second last position in the points table and they would be desperate to bring their campaign back on track with a much-needed win here. Rajasthan would be taking heart from the four-wicket win over Mumbai Indians at their own den last Saturday and will hope to get the better of their rivals once again, this time at home.
However, it will be easier said than done considering Rajasthan’s dismal record at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium. Apart from their lone victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan has lost three matches at home. England’s Jos Buttler has done the bulk of scoring for Rajasthan. His fiery 89 off 43 balls was the cornerstone of Royals’ four-wicket victory over Mumbai but rest the batsmen have either struggled or not been consistent.
Sanju Samson, who had hit the first ton of this IPL, too has not delivered in the past couple of innings. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane, himself, has got starts but failed to convert them. His decision to go down the order in the last match also didn’t bear any fruit as Rajasthan failed to chase down 182 against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali the other day. The likes of former Australian captain Steve Smith and England all-rounder Ben Stokes also have been struggling.
The pace-spin duo of Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal has spearheaded their bowling attack but rest of the bowlers have been far from penetrative and also proved costly in death overs. In their last game, Rahane made some changes, bringing in Stuart Binny and Ashton Turner but while the former hit some lusty blows, the Australian was dismissed for naught. Rahul Tripathi did excel with a 45-ball 50 after returning to his favourite position at top of the order but he threw his wicket immediately after completing the fifty.
Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, have looked formidable this season with a good mix of power hitters, quality bowlers, and perfect all-rounders. The three-time former champions grabbed the second position after a dominating 40-run win over Delhi Capitals last night and would be eager to avenge their defeat against Rajasthan on Saturday to inch closer to the playoff berth.
If skipper Rohit Sharma, who completed 8000 runs in T20 last night, and Quinton De Kock laid the foundation at the top, the Pandya brothers — Hardik and Krunal, along with the big-hitting Kieron Pollard have provided the late charge to help MI post huge scores.
MI boosts of two of the best death bowlers in Jasprit Bumrah, who has taken 10 wickets from nine games so far, and veteran Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga. Young leg-spinner Rahul Chahar’s three-wicket haul was one of the highlights of MI’s win against Delhi and the ever dependable Krunal too have troubled the rival batsmen.
Both the teams have faced each other 22 times and MI has emerged victorious 11 times, while RR won on 10 occasions with one game being abandoned due to rain in 2009.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (C), Ben Stokes, Joffre Archer, Jos Butler, Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Oshane Thomas, Liam Livingstone, Sanju Samson (WK), Shubham Ranjane, Steve Smith, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Aaron, Shashank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul Tripathi.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Ben Cutting, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuvraj Singh, Anmolpreet Singh, Aditya Tare, Siddhedh Lad, Evin Lewis, Pankaj Jaiswal, Anukul Roy, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Barinder Sran, Rasikh Salam, Ishan Kishan, Jason Behrendorff.
Match starts at 4pm.