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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 18 May 2014 - 05:11pm IST

Preview: Match 44 – RR v MI

Watson and co. host MI in Ahmedabad

What

The Rajasthan Royals play their final home match of the season when they take on the Mumbai Indians in Match 44 of Pepsi IPL 2014.

RR, with 14 points from 11 matches, have a foot in the Playoffs and a win in this contest will only firm up their position among the top four teams. The defending champions, Mumbai Indians, have won only three of their 10 matches so far and need to win every single match from here on to give themselves an opportunity of making it to the Playoffs.

When


Monday, May 19, 2014, 4 pm IST

Where


Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad

The Protagonists

One cannot attribute Rajasthan Royals’ success this season to just one or two individuals. Different players have put their hands up and given a good account of themselves at various points. Ajinkya Rahane is somewhat of a bank for RR; apart from his calming influence in the middle, the 25-year-old can hold up one end, ensure the scoreboard keeps ticking and in the process make sure that the strokemakers in the team get more strike.

For Mumbai Indians, the two players capable of destroying opposition are Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. Both batsmen have made in excess of 200 runs this season, but haven’t been able to deliver the knockout blows yet. In their previous match too, both batsmen struggled to break the shackles imposed upon them by the KKR spinners and barely scored at a run-a-ball. With MI reaching a point where they have to win every single match, it is now or never for the two big guns to fire.

MI might be forced to change their combination because their bowling spearhead, Lasith Malinga, is expected to have joined his national team in England. It will be interesting to see who – between Marchant de Lange and Krishmar Santokie – gets the call up to fill in the big boots of the Sri Lankan.

Notes from previous match

Rajasthan Royals v Delhi Daredevils: This game marked yet another clinical performance by RR. The batsmen made runs – picked up enough singles and found the fence regularly – they stitched partnerships and the RR bowlers did not allow the opposition to do any of these things. The one area where RR scored over DD was in not giving away too many boundaries; while RR picked up 124 runs through boundaries, DD could manage only 66 runs by that means, and that was the telling difference. One area the RR coaching staff would want to improve upon would be discipline in the bowling – there were six wides bowled in the DD innings.

Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders:
Mumbai Indians will be worried that their batsmen aren’t playing the brand of cricket they are expected to. There were 51 dot balls in the MI innings, and one doesn’t expect such numbers from a batting line-up comprising Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson. There were 12 overs in the innings where MI scored a run-a-ball or less, and that is an area where MI could definitely improve.

Previous Meetings


The Mumbai Indians have a 7-5 win-loss record against the Rajasthan Royals.

Yusuf Pathan’s 37-ball century for the Rajasthan Royals in 2010 – then the fastest hundred in the IPL – is among the many memorable performances in RR-MI matches.

Trivia

Mumbai Indians have the poorest scoring rate of all teams this season – 7.45.

5 of the 7 IPL matches played at Ahmedabad have been won by the team batting first.

What Next

Both teams will head to Mohali for their next fixtures. While MI square off against Kings XI Punjab on May 21, RR clash with the same opponents two days later on May 23.

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