Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 19 May 2012 - 11:58pm IST
Preview: Match 72 – RR v MI
MI take on RR in their fortress before heading to IPL 2012 playoffs
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.
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.