Abu Dhabi, Oct 24 (IANS/GloFans) The 2008 Indian Premier league (IPL) champions, Rajasthan Royals (RR), may be placed at the seventh spot at the moment. However, the Steve Smith-led side is still afloat in the competition and would hope to strengthen their chances to qualify for the playoffs when they take on a confident Mumbai Indians (MI) here on Sunday.
While MI hold the top spot in the eight-team standings, Royals have managed just eight points from 11 matches so far. MI still have four more matches to play, and another win will seal a playoff berth, and a defeat could further worsen RR’s already slim chances.
RR suffered an eight-wicket hammering against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) as all their batsmen failed to convert starts. They boast some modern-day greats like Ben Stokes, Smith and Jos Buttler but the trio has failed in making a bang.
Moreover, Sanju Samson had a fine start to the season but his performance derailed as the league progressed. These four players need to deliver all the goods on Sunday against a side which has dominated the season so far.
A lot was expected from Stokes, who had missed most part of the initial stage, but the England all-rounder has managed just 110 runs from five games besides remaining without a wicket.
Rahul Tewatia had hogged limelight with his superb performance in the beginning, but the leg-spinning all-rounder needs to be consistent besides jolting the opponents with the balls.
In their bowling, Jofra Archer has single-handedly led the pace attack. The England pacer has 15 scalps from 11 games and once again a lot would rely on him as others have not been up to the mark.
Young Kartik Tyagi, Ankit Rajpoot and Jaydev Unadkat need to step up, providing able support to Archer after struggling in most of the season. Similarly, spinner Shreyas Gopal, who has seven wickets from 11 games, needs to control the flow of runs as he has been quite inconsistent.
On the other side of the fence, MI have clicked all the boxes so far. Though Rohit was forced to miss their last outing against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), stand-in skipper Keiron Pollard didn’t let his absence affect the team as it crushed the opposition convincingly.
MI’s top order comprises in-form Quinton de Kock, Rohit, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, who all are in sublime touch and could clobber even the best bowling attack.
Hardik Pandya, Pollard and Krunal Pandya, too, have been in good form in the middle-order, and once again will look for converting the starts in their favour.
MI has one of the best pace attack in the league, comprising speedsters Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, who was at his lethal best against CSK. They would expect some support from Aussie quick Nathan Coulter-Nile, who has featured in just three games so far.
The onus of the spin attack will be on Rahul Chahar and Krunal who, too, have equally been impressive in the middle overs.
However, MI’s concern will be focused on the injury of Rohit and it remains to be seen whether he recovers well in time or not.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Digvijay Deshmukh, Aditya Tare (wicket-keeper), Saurabh Tiwary, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Rahul Chahar, Chris Lynn, Hardik Pandya, Sherfane Rutherford, Anmolpreet Singh, Mohsin Khan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Prince Balwant Rai, Anukul Roy, Ishan Kishan, Dhawal Kulkarni, Trent Boult, Jayant Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Andrew Tye, Kartik Tyagi, Steven Smith (captain), Ankit Rajpoot, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, RiyanParag, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, Akash Singh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Shashank Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Robin Uthappa, Aniruddha Joshi, Jofra Archer