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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.
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.
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.
With Yuvraj Singh back in the scintillating form that he’s in, the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s strength as a team has risen multiple notches – a handy time to impress your domination when you have to win all your remaining league matches to make it to the top four.
Ahead of their big game against Chennai Super Kings, in Ranchi, RCB batting and fielding coach, Trent Woodhill spoke of the batsmen he works with at RCB, especially Yuvraj, who has answered the critics with his bat with scores of 83 and 68*.
“You cannot demand success off somebody; you’ve got to put them in an environment where they feel comfortable to succeed,” Woodhill said when asked how he deals with lack of runs from the likes of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli.
“Chris has come out of an injury and he’s still finding his way back, although we have seen flashes of brilliance from him. We’re hoping that in the last four games, we see the Chris Gayle of the last year. Virat is so passionate; it’s been a pleasure working with him. With him, it’s almost just the case of making sure that he stays calm.”
“Yuvraj was coming back from an adverse year or so and he has shown Indian Cricket that he is well and truly back. There’s no one in the competition who can bat the way he batted the other night. With guys like Yuvraj it’s just about reminding them what they are capable of. And that doesn’t have to happen in the nets. That can be over a coffee or taking a walk. It’s just about letting him know that I am asking him to do only that what he is capable of doing, nothing more.
When asked if the presence of ace bowlers like Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori helps him as a batting coach, Woodhill said, “Having those two helps in general – great people and they’re also still bowling well. Dan still likes to bowl in the nets and it’s impossible to take the ball out of Muralitharan’s hand.”
Speaking about the strength of their opposition for tomorrow, Woodhill listed out the challenges that RCB are likely to face against CSK. “Every game is a semi-final now, but right now, we’re focused only on CSK, who are one of the best teams in the competition. They’re experienced, well groomed and they’re the best fielding side. McCullum and Smith have gotten them off to great starts and in Ashwin and Jadeja they’ve got two spinners who can control the game well. These guys are our biggest challenges.”
Another challenge for RCB will be getting their bowling right, something they have struggled to do since the India leg of Pepsi IPL 2014 has started.
“With every game that goes by, the tournament heats up and the pressure builds. There’s certainly more pressure on us that there was in the UAE and the bowlers are feeling it,” Woodhill said. “I thought in the UAE we were brilliant in the field in the last four overs. Since we’ve got here, we haven’t been as good in that part of the game and that’s because the players have gotten emotionally involved in the situation.”