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Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

IPL 2019: Mumbai Indians start favourites against struggling Rajasthan Royals

Mumbai Indians take the field as ‘favourites’ against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday afternoon at the Wankhede. The Royals have failed to get going so far with just one win, a tad better than Royal Challengers Bangalore, in terms of results.

cricket Updated: Apr 13, 2019 14:57 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Mumbai
File image of Rohit Sharma.
File image of Rohit Sharma.(AP)
         

Otherwise slow to get off the blocks in IPL, Mumbai Indians have bucked the trend after notching up four wins in six matches. More heartening was the fact that their latest win came while chasing a target close to 200 and that too with captain Rohit Sharma sitting out injured. And included in these four wins are ones against this year’s top performers Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab.

So on paper Mumbai Indians take the field as ‘favourites’ against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday afternoon at the Wankhede. The Royals have failed to get going so far with just one win, a tad better than Royal Challengers Bangalore, in terms of results.

Kieron Pollard’s sensational onslaught against Kings XI, Alzarri Joseph’s record breaking figures against Sunrisers and Hardik Pandya attacking intent right through have made Mumbai Indians look good. The icing would be if skipper Rohit, declared fit to play on Saturday, gets a big one after returning scores of 14, 48, 32, 13 and 11 in the five matches he has played in.

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Rajasthan Royals badly need a win to resurrect their campaign. In order to achieve that, Rajasthan will need all their departments to fire in unison. But for starters, the winners of the first edition could do well without any controversial finish.

Rajasthan have been caught short of ground twice when they were nearing victories, first against KXIP and then on Thursday night against table-toppers Chennai Super Kings. There were a few errors of judgement as well. Kolkata Knight Riders showed them how good the Sawai Mansingh wicket was for batting after Rajasthan’s star turn Steve Smith made a laborious 59-ball 73. KKR won that match with more than six overs to spare.

Jos Buttler remains crucial to Rajasthan’s plans at a time when Ajinkya Rahane has somewhat failed to convert starts. Sanju Samson too is looking for a big knock after posting two single digit scores following a century in Hyderabad.

There will be a lot riding on Ben Stokes too, with Rajasthan hoping for the all-rounder to find consistency. In the controversial finish to Thursday’s clash, Stokes had 18 runs to defend. But despite getting on-song MS Dhoni with a yorker, the Englishman failed to contain Chennai bowling two extra balls in form of a no and a wide. Both Ravindra Jadeja and Mitchell Santner hit his two length ball for sixes.

First Published: Apr 13, 2019 14:54 IST

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