The second half of the double header in the Indian Premier League on Saturday afternoon sees the Rajasthan Royals taking on the Mumbai Indians at the DY Patil Stadium as two sides enjoying vastly different seasons meet each other.
The Royals are absolutely flying and will look to preserve their top two place while even with six matches left in the competition the Mumbai Indians have already been eliminated from the possibility of qualifying for the next stage.
After a poor campaign last term, the Rajasthan Royals are delivering on a good auction and sit second in the table heading into this match. I mentioned right at the start of the season that the Royals had a good squad and would have been playing with the motivation to honour their mentor and initial captain Shane Warne. They might double down on that here because this match is being used as a tribute to the great leg spinner.
Rajasthan have nearly every base covered. They get off to great starts with Jos Buttler on absolute fire in the tournament while Shimron Hetmyer is as good a finisher as we’ve seen in the tournament. With the ball in hand Rajasthan get stuck in early which means that teams have to go after their spinners however they are among the best spin options in the competition so a team needs to play very well to see off the Royals.
Playing very well is something the Mumbai Indians haven’t done much this season. We were always used to them starting the season badly but you can’t keep going to the same well and getting your wish granted. I had concerns over the work Mumbai Indians did in the auction. They lost some big talent when the likes of Quinton de Kock, the Pandya brothers and Rahul Chahar left the franchise and it is plainly obvious that the decisions they made for replacements were not good enough.
They would have known Jofra Archer wasn’t going to be available this season while you always felt that there would only be room in the team for one of Kieron Pollard or Tim David while Daniel Sams was a punt they didn’t really need to take either when you consider their late order hitting power. The ultimate problem though has been their bowlers. They haven’t delivered anything like the form of previous sides and they have been found out as a result.
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I would imagine that Yuzvendra Chahal will have a couple of overs kept back for when the likes of Kieron Pollard and Daniel Sams come into bat. As with most power hitters it is the seamers they smack out of the park not the mystery spinners that they struggle to read.
Rohit Sharma just hasn’t batted how we would expect him to have done this season. Whether that is down to the pressure of results the side have had only he will know but this is a team that can play with freedom now and they will hope their captain can lead by example.
These two sides have already met on this ground this season and there were 19 sixes in that contest. I expect to see the sixes line of 13.5 covered here as well. To be fair to Mumbai Indians, Jos Buttler beat them on that previous occasion but he has been doing it regularly so we shouldn’t go into this match thinking that lightning won’t strike twice in that regard. The key thing to think about here is the fact that Mumbai Indians can play with freedom now and just swing from the hip.
I refuse to believe that a Mumbai top order with the quality that it has within their ranks can keep on failing and even if they don’t run up the sixes if they can lay a platform for the middle order then those players can soon catch up. The top three of Rajasthan can all smack a long ball and I would imagine there will be an intent to play in the style of their former mentor Shane Warne as in to be aggressive and dominate the game. I expect to see more than 13.5 sixes here.
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