It goes without saying that the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur will be choc-a-bloc on Sunday. The Sachin Tendulkar-fever has gripped the Pink City so much that tickets for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) versus Mumbai Indians (MI) match were declared ‘sold out’ on Thursday.
Innumerable Tendulkar fans had to leave the ticket counters dejected after being greeted with the ‘sold out’ signboard. Those in the business of selling these tickets in the black market will, undoubtedly, have made a killing.
Jaipur might be Shane Warne’s fortress, but if Tendulkar goes boom boom, even the city’s ramparts will fall defenceless against the Master Blaster’s assault.
For Rajasthan, their next three matches are crucial. If they lose to Mumbai, their hopes of a semi-final berth will hang by a thread. And Mumbai’s six-wicket defeat to Kings XI Punjab on Friday will leave the RR searching for one elusive victory for a final-four seat. If this is not enough to create tension, here are some more facts to ponder over.
Mumbai have won more times batting first (four out of seven), but for Rajasthan, Yusuf Pathan has scored most runs batting second (222 off his total of 304 runs). The equation might sound weird, but if there is one man who can clinch it for the hosts with the bat, it’s none other than Pathan. He scored a whirlwind ton against the visitors in Mumbai and Warne will be hoping for another such performance from the all-rounder.
So, while the Royals skipper might be tempted to bat first if he wins the toss, he won’t mind chasing either keeping Yusuf’s figures in mind.
The Royals have the luxury of playing at home and hence they will go fresh into Sunday’s tie after three days’ rest. It will be a test for Mumbai since the table-toppers are travelling after completing their quota of home matches. On paper, the visitors are a stronger side and with Tendulkar in full form, they are ever more dangerous.
So, for the Royals, Shane Watson, Michael Lumb, Naman Ojha, Yusuf Pathan and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala will all have to chip in with good knocks. The rest will depend on Warne and whether he succeeds in leaving Jaipur spellbound with another magical performance. Let the match begin.