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The Mumbai Indians will want to wind up the league phase the way they began IPL 2012; in the opening fixture of DLF IPL 2012, MI caused an upset of sorts when they defeated the Chennai Super Kings in their own backyard. They will hope to get the better of the Rajasthan Royals in their “fortress” in the final league fixture of the season.
Harbhajan Singh’s team should consider themselves fortunate to have made it to the playoffs; his team has nine wins so far; in six of those nine wins, they barely made it past the finish line. In their most recent outing against the Kolkata Knight Riders, they faltered in their chase of 141, and fell short by 32 runs.
For the Rajasthan Royals (who lost their previous match against Kings XI Punjab), this contest offers a chance to finish the season on a high. Rahul Dravid’s team may lack the star appeal some of the other teams have, but they’ve certainly performed way above expectations and have made optimum use of the resources at their disposal. When
Sunday, May 20, 2012, 08:00 p.m.
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Keep an eye on Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid – as individuals and as a pair – in the Rajasthan Royals line-up. The most consistent opening pair in IPL 2012, both players have gone off the boil in the last few matches. They will want to come good in this final fixture and sign off on a good note.
Keep an eye on Shane Watson too. The Australian, who has impressive all-round numbers while playing at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, will want to finish the season on a high too.
Sachin Tendulkar has scored only one half-century this season; and given the importance of this match and the matches to come, expect him to produce something spectacular. The Little Master and Rohit Sharma are among the key performers in the Mumbai Indians top order. Meanwhile, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard will be key players in the closing stages of the innings.
Among the bowlers, keep an eye on the two speedsters – Lasith Malinga and Shaun Tait. The former – the leading wicket-taker in the IPL – continues to torment batsmen with his sling-arm action and his toe-crushers, while the latter can bowl quick and run through sides singlehandedly.
Where historical meetings between the Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians are concerned, there’s very little that separates the two teams; both have won four matches apiece, while the second meeting in the 2009 season (at Durban) had to be abandoned because of poor weather.
In their most recent encounter, at the Wankhede Stadium earlier this season, the hosts – powered by Kieron Pollard’s maiden IPL half-century – posted 197 for six and then bowled out RR for 170, to win by 27 runs.
The Mumbai Indians have the lowest scoring rate of the nine competing teams in IPL 2012 – 7.34.
The Mumbai Indians have conceded the most runs through wides in IPL 2012 – 77.
The Rajasthan Royals have posted the most 50-plus partnerships this season – 15.
This match will be the end of the road for the Rajasthan Royals as far as IPL 2012 is concerned, while the Mumbai Indians will be seen in action in the playoffs.
Match 71 – the penultimate league fixture of DLF IPL 2012 – will mean more to the Royal Challengers Bangalore than their opponents, Deccan Chargers. While DC lie at the bottom of the table with three wins from 15 fixtures, RCB (17 points from 15 league fixtures) are still in contention to make it to the playoffs, and they need to win this contest to be among the top four teams.
Both teams will be upbeat after winning their previous matches. While the Deccan Chargers got the better of the Rajasthan Royals, RCB (for whom the efficiency of the bowling unit continues to be a worry) come into this match on the back of a 21-run win over the Delhi Daredevils. When
Sunday, May 20, 2012, 04:00 p.m.
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
The two bright spots, in what has been an otherwise disappointing season, for the Deccan Chargers are the performances of Shikhar Dhawan and Cameron White. Dhawan came into the competition after a poor domestic season, but he has shown great maturity and consistency right through the tournament; his 564 runs in 14 matches this season (with just one single-digit score) is the highest aggregate by any Deccan Chargers player in one season.
White, who was stripped of the Australian Twenty20 captaincy and lost his place in the Australian national team, needed to prove a point, and he has done that in style; the 28-year-old has answered his critics by scoring 478 runs in twelve outings at an incredible strike-rate of 152.
The standout performer in RCB’s ranks has been Chris Gayle. The Jamaican, who is generally associated with smashing the bowlers to all parts of the park, has shown a great deal of application and has displayed a method to his madness. Though he hasn’t done a lot of damage up front, he has more than made up for it by batting longer and finishing off innings. He comes into this match after having scored a magnificent century against the Delhi Daredevils in the previous outing. He will be keen to carry his team into the playoffs.
Keep an eye on RCB’s bowling attack too; the team has struggled to defend big totals in the past (CSK chased down 206, Mumbai Indians chased down 172 and the Delhi Daredevils gave them a scare in their chase of 216). The bowlers will need to bring in their A game if they are to make it to the playoffs and push for some silverware. Previous Meetings
It is five wins apiece between the Deccan Chargers and the Royal Challengers Bangalore from ten outings.
In the most recent meeting between the two teams (at Bengaluru, earlier this season), RCB were given to chase 182, and it took AB de Villiers’ incredible assault on compatriot Dale Steyn to see his team home with a five-wicket win. Trivia
The Deccan Chargers’ victory over the Rajasthan Royals at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium recently was only their second win (in 19 matches) at that venue.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have hit the most sixes in IPL 2012 – 112.
RCB will progress to the playoffs if they win here, but their position in the final standings will only be established after the Mumbai Indians play the Rajasthan Royals. For the Deccan Chargers, this will be the end of their journey as far as IPL 2012 is concerned.