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IPL 2018: Upbeat Mumbai Indians aim to deflate demoralised Rajasthan Royals

Mumbai Indians (MI) snapped a three-match losing streak by beating Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and will look to cash in against shaky Rajasthan Royals (RR), who have lost their last two games in the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) .

cricket Updated: Apr 21, 2018 22:05 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
IPL 2018,Rajasthan Royals,Royal CHallengers Bangalore
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Pune on Saturday, and the Jaipur-based side would be keen to banish that result with a big win over Mumbai Indians (MI) in their 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) match at home on Sunday.(AFP)

After being out of the Indian Premier League for two years, Rajasthan Royals have certainly not enjoyed a good comeback. After a heavy loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad, they showed some spark with wins against Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

However, two big losses, against Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings, have hurt the momentum of Ajinkya Rahane’s side.

READ MORE | Live cricket score, Royal Challengers vs Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2018

Their next contest is against Mumbai Indians, who are on an upswing after snapping a three-match losing streak with a 46-run win over Virat Kohli’s side at the Wankhede. The thrice champions, who start the tournament slowly but pick up momentum towards the business end, have a great record against Rajasthan Royals, having won 10 out of 16 meetings.

Royals’ headache

The problem for Royals has been lack of contributions from the batsmen. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane has got starts but failed to convert them into big scores. The batting relies entirely on Sanju Samson, who has responded with some great knocks, including 92 not out against RCB that gave RR a convincing victory.

READ MORE | IPL 2018: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul Shine Up Front For Kings XI Punjab In Kolkata Knight Riders

The bowling, consisting of the most expensive buy (Ben Stokes) and the most expensive Indian (Jaydev Unadkat), has failed to live up to expectations so far. Spinners Shreyas Gopal and K Gowtham have been economical and have taken wickets but have not been backed up by the pacers. A consistent show from the bowlers is necessary if RR are to turn their fortunes around.

MI sustain momentum

Mumbai Indians’ great record against Rajasthan Royals has given head coach Robin Singh plenty of confidence heading into the contest. At the press conference on Saturday, Robin Singh was confident his team can deflate Rajasthan Royals.

“They are coming out of two back-to-back losses, including one recently against Chennai Super Kings. We will certainly make them know that they have lost pretty badly,” he said.

READ MORE | IPL 2018: Shikhar Dhawan doubtful as Sunrisers Hyderabad face Chennai Super Kings

Following their win against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rohit Sharma’s side has got momentum. Ishan Kishan, who was struck by the ball high on the cheek in the previous game, practiced for over 30 minutes without discomfort. When it comes to batting, Rohit Sharma and Evin Lewis have led the charge.

Mumbai Indians’ bowling is powerful with the likes of young leg-spinner Mayank Markande bowling brilliantly. Krunal Pandya’s four wickets in his last game have given Mumbai Indians added depth. The game against Rajasthan Royals gives the perennial slow-starters of Indian Premier League a chance to sustain momentum and gun for a top four spot.

First Published: Apr 21, 2018 21:45 IST