IPL 2018: In do-or-die match, Mumbai Indians start favourites vs Rajasthan Royals
With just a few games to go in the league phase, not much separates Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. Both have 10 points in the kitty and find themselves in a do-or-die situation with three games left.
A loss for either side could virtually mean the end of their campaign while a win will come as a breather. Both are used to this pressure though. While Mumbai have been living on the edge for the past three games, Rajasthan have been in this situation for the last two matches.
Jofra Archer was sidelined for the initial games as he was nursing an injury. However, despite playing six games, he is Royals’ best performer with the ball with 11 wickets. For the record, five bowlers from Mumbai Indians camp have 11 or more wickets. Although Hardik Pandya leads the tally with 16 scalps to his name, Mayank Markande (14), Jasprit Bumrah (12), Mitchell McClenaghan (11) and Krunal Pandya (11) have all contributed to help Mumbai stay afloat.
While Rajasthan Royals have been lacking in this aspect, they have struggled with the bat too. Barring Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson, no one averages 30. The duo has accumulated more than 44% of the team’s total run share with skipper Ajinkya Rahane managing just 243 runs in 10 innings. His counterpart, Rohit Sharma, hasn’t been in great form either and has just 267 runs, including a 94, against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Had Mumbai Indians not lost those last over ties in the inaugural stages, they would have qualified for the play-offs by now. Although luck might not have been with them, the positive aspect of their performances was that the team had been shaping up well from within. Suryakumar Yadav has been a revelation and with the brisk starts provided by Evin Lewis from the other end, Mumbai Indians have often gotten off to fantastic starts. The young Ishan Kishan has only followed suit at No 3.
While their batsmen have posted modest totals, their bowlers have complemented them in ruthless fashion. From those toe-crushing yorkers of Bumrah and Pandya to the wily turns of Markande, the defending champions have come across as a fantastic bowling unit. Rohit has to be given credit for using his options well. And they’ll hope to come good even on Sunday while tackling the in-form Jos Buttler, who has now scored four consecutive half-centuries.
Both the sides would however walk out with a positive mindset. While Mumbai Indians will take heart from the manner in which they beat Kolkata Knight Riders in their own backyard, defeating Chennai Super Kings boosts the morale of any side. It’ll simply be a battle of nerves between two sides who can’t afford to slip up anymore.