Two wins from five games might not be the best of starts, but the 6-wicket victory over Delhi Capitals for the Rajasthan Royals can be that shot in the arm they need. The Royals have taken quite a few blows in a short time in the tournament thus far.
They are sorely missing two crucial cogs in their lineup: Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. As if the absence of two key players had any small impact, another overseas option, pacer Andrew Tye, opted out owing to COVID-related concerns.
Despite a ballistic batting order, the Royals failed to capitalize on the advantage that some true surfaces at the Wankhede offered to them. Their top-order seems frozen. After Stokes’ ouster, Jos Buttler has not performed to the team’s expectation at the top, while Manan Vohra, after four failed attempts, has been swapped with Yashasvi Jaiswal. The youngster looked fluent against Capitals but wasted his start. It would be harsh, though, to judge him early, more so when another one was backed by the team for four games.
A potential solution there for the team was Liam Livingstone, who played a vital role in taking his BBL team Perth Scorchers to this year’s finals (426 runs from 14 games at 30.32, SR – 133.96). However, having spent a considerable duration in bio-bubbles recently meant his ‘it is enough’ moment was round the corner. It arrived and he is now in England, having pulled out owing to bubble fatigue.
As Royals continue to grapple with their top-order issues and powerplay concerns, a positive turned out to be Sanju Samson’s approach in the previous game, when he anchored the chase with a 41-ball 42 to take his team across. Having admitted “I don’t come with a mindset. I just love to keep enjoying my batting”, the skipper responsibly added, “but nowadays I play according to a situation and try to win games for my team.” And that showed in his approach. If Samson can hold the brittle top-order, and the Dube, Parag, and Tewatia trio can show responsibility, the Royals might be able to build a winning momentum
At the other corner are the five-time champions, the behemoths, Mumbai Indians. For a champion side like theirs, no issue seems too giant to fix. Although, a heavily misfiring middle-order with lukewarm returns from the skipper Rohit Sharma’s bat has left in the same position as the Royals (two wins in five games).
One knows that the struggle is real when a batting order like MI’s has two half-centuries, all told, to show after five games in the season. The Pandya brothers have a string of low-scores, most of them single-digits, while Hardik Pandya not bowling has left one more box unticked. Quinton de Kock has not managed performance to justify the management’s call to swap him with Chris Lynn, while Ishan Kishan has crawled thus far.
The Indians had a little break to recoup, strategize, and make a blueprint to get back to winning ways. They have punched way below their weight, leaving the scope of improvement to be the highest that perhaps has ever been associated with them. Any marginal improvement would do little help. They need to buckle up, super-fast.
Pitch and conditions
Both these sides are set to play next four games in Delhi, where the tracks will not be drastically different than Chennai. The venue has a reputation of being friendly to the spinners and this being a day encounter, dew will not have any part. Both the sides will have keen eyes when the Chennai Super Kings take on Sunrisers Hyderabad, the first clash of the season in Delhi.
Playing combinations for MI vs RR
Mumbai Indians do not tinker with their combinations too much, although the constant failures of de Kock and Kishan make a case for Chris Lynn and Saurabh Tiwary. Given the duo has been backed so far, they appear set to at least start the proceedings in Delhi, however, any more dull outings can cost them their place in the side.
Predicted XI: Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (WK), Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Coming after a victory in their last game, the Royals are unlikely to change.
Predicted XI: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (C & WK), Shivam Dube, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman
MI vs RR Head to Head
Played – 25 | Mumbai Indians – 12 | Rajasthan Royals – 12 | N/R – 1
MI vs RR Broadcast Details
Match Timings – 7:30 PM IST
TV – Star Sports Network
Live Streaming – Disney+Hotstar
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