Royals fight for pride, Indians for a lot more | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Royals fight for pride, Indians for a lot more

cricket Updated: May 20, 2011 02:00 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
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Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne will face each other in a competitive match for the last time when the Mumbai Indians take on the Rajasthan Royals in their last home game of IPL-4 at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.

The final meeting of the legends should have been a sort of celebration for the fans and the teams, but the controversies in the build-up to the game seem to have taken the sheen away from the battle royale.

Till Wednesday evening, Warne's participation in the match was uncertain after the Rajasthan Cricket Association secretary, Sanjay Dixit, lodged a complaint against him for verbal abuse after their game against the Bangalore Royal Challengers. The Indian cricket board quickly stepped in to defuse the crisis and fined Warne $50,000, but the pitch controversy that took an ugly turn, had its seeds sown during the last meeting of these two teams.

The high-flying Mumbai Indians were brought crashing down on a slow turner in Jaipur last month and kicked off a pitch row that ultimately resulted in a full-blown controversy.

While the Royals were feeling the heat of this controversy, the Mumbai Indians inexplicably hit a dry zone with their star-studded batting line-up failing them on two successive occasions.

The back-to-back losses to the Kings XI Punjab and the Deccan Chargers means that the last edition's finalists are still not guaranteed a place in the knockout stage and will be desperate for a win.

Tendulkar's side has struggled on slow pitches and the captain himself was candid in admitting that they failed to adapt to the conditions while chasing against the Chargers on the very same ground last week.

The curator has got about five days to prepare the wicket for Saturday's game but the rising temperatures and humidity is unlikely to provide them a lot of respite. MATCH BOX

And, if the pitch does slow down like the last game, the visitors could hurt the Mumbai Indians.

The Royals don't have the firepower in their batting or bowling to win on a flat deck, but provide them a slow turner and Warne's team has more often than not strangled its opponents.

The 41-year-old would definitely like to leave the IPL stage with his legacy intact.