Defending champions Mumbai Indians will look to sort out their mid-level issues and get their campaign back on track when they face inconsistent Rajasthan Royals in an IPL match on Thursday. MI enter the game after suffering back-to-back losses, the latest being a nine-wicket loss to the Punjab Kings in Chennai and must restart the Delhi game. Rajasthan led by Sanju Samson have lost three times in the tournament so far and will look to build on the six-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the previous match.
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma (201 points) started but didn’t play a big shot and the Mumbaikar would be eager to get one like their opener Quinton De Kock (47 races) would be. But the Mumbai middle order, which boasts of hard-hitting drummers like Suryakumar Yadav (154 points), Ishan Kishan (73 points), Hardik Pandya (36 points), Krunal Pandya (29 points) and Kieron Pollard (65 points), hasn’t fired in unison so far.
Middle order can push any good offense to submission on any given day and Sharma is hoping their stick clicks on Thursday when the action moves onto Feroz Shah Kotla’s pitch. In bowling, the rhythm duo of Trent Boult (6 wickets) and Jasprit Bumrah (4 wickets) was exceptional, especially at death.
Rahul Chahar (9 wickets) and Krunal (3 wickets) were also impressive and will have to play their roles to perfection again. Pollard is used as a fifth or sixth bowler, although Hardik only plays as a batsman. Mumbai, however, could play Adam Milne in place of Jayant Yadav.
Rajasthan, on the other hand, has many issues to think about, especially in the absence of key foreign players – Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone and Andrew Tye. RR does not yet have an opening combination set. They tried Manan Vohra (42 points) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (22 points) at the top, but both failed to convert their starts.
Englishman Jos Buttler would need to score big to congratulate his skipper Sanju Samson, who is the team’s top scorer (187) despite his lack of consistency. And the likes of Shivam Dube, David Miller and Riyan Parag, are expected to support the First Order by making much-needed contributions.
The versatile Chris Morris (9 wickets and 48 races) blew hot and cold and will be under pressure again to deliver his high price. Left arm stimulator Chetan Sakariya (7 wickets) was a revelation, while the experienced duo of Jaydev Unadkat (4 wickets) and Mustafizur Rahman (4 wickets) were decent.
The three left arm pacemakers with Morris, however, must be consistent. Legs Rahul Tewatia only got one wicket in five games, while Shreyas Gopal, another leggie, went wicketless in both games he played. Tewatia’s role would be crucial if the Royals aim to contain MI’s batting lineup, keeping Amit Mishra’s performance for Delhi in mind. Dew will not be a factor on Thursday as it is an afternoon game.
The match starts at 3:30 p.m.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Adam Milne, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Arjun Tendulkar, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, James Neesham, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav Marco, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Jansen, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Quinton De Kock (WK), Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Yudhvir Singh.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c & wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra, Anuj Rawat, Riyan Parag, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, KC Cariappa, Kuldip Yadav, Akash Singh.
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