The Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals will face-off for the first time in VIVO IPL 2019.
Both teams have played six matches so far, and while the Mumbai Indians are placed in the top half with four wins, the Rajasthan Royals are closer to the floor of the eight-team table with a solitary win.
The two teams are coming into this game at the back of contrasting results. While the Mumbai Indians clinched a last ball thriller against Kings XI Punjab, the Rajasthan Royals finished on the wrong side of the result in their last-ball thriller against the Chennai Super Kings.
The Mumbai Indians are on a bit of a roll having won their last three matches. They are likely to be boosted by the return of their regular captain Rohit Sharma, who missed the previous match after hurting his leg on the eve of the match.
It wouldn’t be too wrong to say the Rajasthan Royals have often lost matches from a position of strength. Rewind to the opener against Kings XI Punjab – when they lost wickets in a heap. Then, in both their matches against the Chennai Super Kings, they were in a dominant position before they lost grip over proceedings. The spotlight is on Ajinkya Rahane’s form, and questions are being asked about his captaincy as well. An underperforming Ben Stokes – who was expected to be one of the pillars – hasn’t helped the team’s cause too; the Christchurch-born English all-rounder has struggled with the bat and been dismal with the ball.
13 April 2019, 4pm IST
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Previous Match XIs:
Mumbai Indians:Quinton de Kock, Siddhesh Lad, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Alzarri Joseph, Rahul Chahar, Jason Behrendorff, JaspritBumrah.
Rajasthan Royals:Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, JaydevUnadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni.
Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals are the only two teams who don’t have a single batsman with an aggregate of 200 runs this season. That fact illustrates the two teams’ batting woes.
Quinton de Kock has got off to starts in five innings this season, but has been dismissed between 19 and 27 on four occasions. The South African needs to do a lot better than that, considering he is in form and is the team’s preferred opener, ahead of other proven alternatives like Evin Lewis (yet to get a game this season)and Ishan Kishan (batting in the middle order).
MI could do with one of Rohit Sharma or Suryakumar Yadav batting deep and making a big score. Far too often they’ve been rescued by their middle-order; now heading towards the second half of the league season, they will be better served if their top order can start delivering the goods.
The Rajasthan Royals need a spark to turnaround their campaign, and the individual best-equipped to deliver such a performance is Jos Buttler. The surface at the Wankhede Stadium should be to his liking, and there’s a good reason to believe he could make a big score; if he survives the initial few overs, expect Buttler to feast on MI’s frail middle overs bowlers. Ajinkya Rahane, because of his familiarity with the surface and generally the good vibes of playing at the Wankhede Stadium, too should be expected to get among the runs.
The time has come for the Rajasthan Royals to infuse some fresh blood; one option they could explore is to replace Ben Stokes with Ashton Turner, or alternately they could bring Manan Vohra asa middle-order batsman and then unleash the West Indies speedster Oshane Thomas in place of one of the Indian quicks.
Head to Head in Indian Premier League
Overall: Matches – 18,Mumbai Indians – 10, Rajasthan Royals –8.
In VIVO IPL 2018: Matches 2, Mumbai Indians – 0, Rajasthan Royals – 2.
Pace bowlers account for 32 of the 37 wickets taken by bowlers in the three matches played at the Wankhede Stadium this season.
The Mumbai Indians have realised only 5 wickets from their spinners in VIVO IPL 2019 – the lowest among all teams this season.
The Rajasthan Royals have the poorest economy rate in the middle nine overs and the five death overs; their economy rate in the middle nine overs is 8.89, and their economy rate in the final five overs is 11.50.