Two sides with contrasting fortunes in their last two rounds, go head-to-head on Tuesday at the Sheik Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. While Rajasthan Royals walk into this fixture on the back of their two straight losses, Mumbai Indians’ fortune is contrastingly brighter with two straight wins.
Mumbai Indians - W W L W L
Table-toppers Mumbai Indians walk into the encounter against Rajasthan Royals on a confidence sky-high. They have won their last two games in sublime fashion against tough opponents in the form of Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab. During that process, they also tamed the KXIP top-order, arguably for the first time in the tournament. Just before that, their batting was well tested by Royal Challengers Bangalore before they almost turned the screw around to take the fixture to a Super Over. While their batting unit has come to the fore, their bowling unit too collectively isn’t far behind to make this contest a mouth-watering one.
Rajasthan Royals - L L W W
Rajasthan Royals surprised one and all in the IPL with two massive wins off the box to force the fans into hysterics. However, after that normalcy restored as they went back a route that they were familiar with last season with two back-to-back losses. Against Mumbai, they would face an in-form opponent, who are not only at the top the table but are in sublime form. It would be crucial for Rajasthan to get their setup right for the crucial contest, as the tournament enters an extremely complex juncture.
Mumbai Indians - Suryakumar Yadav
Mumbai Indians’ batting unit has had several contributions from their top-five batsman, mostly from the blade of Rohit Sharma. However, with Jofra Archer in the Royals’ outfit, it would be tough for the openers to get off to a good start, which makes a strong case for Suryakumar Yadav to shoulder more responsibility. The right-hander has batted well in the limited opportunities that he has got but mostly has thrown away his starts, similar to Shreyas Iyer. While Iyer came back to score that fantastic knock against KKR, all eyes would be on SKY to hit a similar knock against Rajasthan’s relatively weaker spin bowling.
Rajasthan Royals - Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler has terribly underperformed for the Royals thus far in the tournament, albeit it being just the three games. In the newly formed partnership with Steve Smith at the top of the order, the right-handed Englishman hasn’t quite come to the party yet, which makes it interesting ahead of the contest against Mumbai. An opponent that Buttler knows very well both during his time as a Mumbai Indians player and while facing them in Rajasthan colours. While Sanju Samson has scored the most runs against Mumbai for RR, the English opener isn’t too far away, with 189 runs of his own. Combined with his underperforming season thus far, they would be the right opponent and the right day for the right-hander to come back to his purple touch.
Mumbai Indians - Trent Boult
Well-documented trouble to the right-handed batsman in the IPL is the left-arm pace of Trent Boult. After dismissing the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson in the previous game, the Kiwi pacer would walk into the encounter against Rajasthan on a confident note. Boult could well take a leaf out of Sheldon Cottrell's book, where the left-arm seamer dismissed Jos Buttler. If Mumbai need to get a go in the game, they would need their Kiwi pacer to follow the Cottrell-book. With the game in a far bigger stadium in Abu Dhabi, it would provide the left-arm seamer with the opportunity to go big and create an immediate impact, denting Rajasthan’s top-order heavy batting unit.
Rajasthan Royals - Jofra Archer
It is no secret that Jofra Archer is Steve Smith’s favourite weapon this season with the English all-rounder being his ‘calling card.’ Against Mumbai, it is not going to change one bit, given the fact that Rohit Sharma has suffered in the past against Archer’s deadly pace and accuracy. In the kind of form that he is exhibiting, the lanky pacer would be key to removing Mumbai’s magician at the top of the order, Rohit and his partner Quinton de Kock. That is the only way the double Rs can walk away with a win, otherwise, game over!
RR: Jos Buttler (wk), Steven Smith (c), Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, Mahipal Lomror, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Tom Curran, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat.
MI: Rohit Sharma(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah.
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
When to Watch: Oct 6, 7.30 PM IST.
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (in India).