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Two teams, equally high on confidence will be looking to better each other when they face off at the Sawai Mansingh stadium at Jaipur on Wednesday. Both Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians are coming off comprehensive victories and there is little to choose between these two sides as they meet for the first time in the competition.
Rajasthan Royals, the underdogs who have gone about doing their business rather silently in the tournament will be eager to get their noses ahead against a star studded Mumbai Indians line up. “We have been given the tag of underdogs, which will benefit us,” said Dishant Yagnik who addressed the press here at Jaipur.
“To upset any team in the tournament this tag will prove to be an advantage for us. We will play like underdogs with full of enthusiasm and commitment which will help us defeat a strong side like Mumbai Indians tomorrow,” added the wicket-keeper-batsman.
When asked if the Royals would be going into the game with a set plan against the Mumbai Indians, Yagnik said, “We will have a team meeting later in the day and we will have our own set of plans for the Mumbai Indians. We know Mumbai Indians are one of the strongest teams in the tournament and you need to play good cricket against them. We will device plans and will look forward to implementing them in the game.”
The Royals in their practice session did look charged up. The sun was beating hard; Rahul Dravid and Ajinky Rahane had long sessions in the middle batting in tandem, even as Shane Watson looked in the mood to send a few cricket balls outside the practice area. The buzz was however about Sreesanth who was nowhere to be seen in the nets. When asked about Sreesanth’s absence, Yagnik said “I guess it was an optional practice session for the medium pacers today; hence Sreesanth was missing in the training. Our fast bowlers have been training hard over the last few days and we want them to be fresh for our big game tomorrow.”
The Royals have played two games at home so far and have won both of them convincingly. Both the games did not see big scores, and Yagnik was happy that the wickets this time were competitive. “This year, you can see there are sporting wickets and it will be great if we get a wicket that will assist the batsmen and the bowlers equally. We believe our medium pace attack has been impressive in the games so far and will depend on it to deliver against MI.”
Yagnik missed the previous game against the Kings XI Punjab due to a groin injury and was replaced by young Sanju Samson who scored a 23 ball 27 in the Royals’ six wicket victory. Yagnik said he was slowly progressing towards complete fitness. “I have a groin strain, and since it’s a groin strain I will take close to three or four days to fully recover. I have kept well and had a batting session at the nets. I am progressing towards complete fitness. I am feeling fit at the moment.”
The Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians, who have both won their most recent matches, will feature in Match 23 of the Pepsi IPL 2013. Though both teams have won three off their four matches, Mumbai Indians sit higher in the standings, courtesy a higher net run rate. Both teams will be aware that a win here will mean a chance to go to the top of the table.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 8 p.m
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid – two batsmen known better for their technique and temperament – have put to rest the theory that T20 cricket is custom-made for the stroke-makers. Both batsmen have played shots as prescribed in the coaching manual, yet have been extremely successful in the 20-over format. They, together with Shane Watson, who is yet to fire this season, hold the key for the Royals.
By sheer performance Dinesh Karthik has forced the two legends – Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting – into the background. Given the opportunity to bat at number three, Karthik has scored runs in each of the four innings so far. He will hope to carry that form right through the tournament as he looks to force his way back into the Indian team. Look out for Tendulkar and Ponting too, for you cannot keep the two legends out of action for long.
Mitchell Johnson has got his in-dippers going and that has made him doubly dangerous. The Mumbai Indians bowling attack will be a lethal one if Johnson can get those deliveries to swing in late on a consistent basis and add Lasith Malinga if he can start firing those yorkers.
The Rajasthan Royals have a 4-5 win-loss record in ten matches against the Mumbai Indians, with one match being abandoned without a ball being bowled. In matches at Jaipur, the teams have met on four occasions with both teams winning two matches apiece.
Last season though, the Mumbai Indians blanked the Rajasthan Royals; they won the home fixture by 27 runs and then registered a thumping 10-wicket victory when they met at Jaipur.
2009 was Dinesh Karthik’s most productive IPL season; the Chennai lad scored 288 runs in 13 innings that season. However, in just four innings this season, he has already accumulated 224 runs.
The Rajasthan Royals will head down south to take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 20 while the Mumbai Indians will fly to the National Capital for their away clash against the Delhi Daredevils (scheduled on April 21).