After the first week of the IPL, it was emerging as if Rajasthan Royals could not put a step wrong. Twice they gunned targets of over 200, including one record successful chase with u capped players making a solid mark. However, back-to-back defeats have brought them back to the ground and exposed the chinks surrounding their middle-order batting, when facing quality bowling. Without the small boundaries of the Sharjah Cricket Ground, the Royals have struggled to put a strong total, going from the high of consecutive 200-plus scores to totals of 137 and 158.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians are soaring high on the back of consecutive wins, by margins of 48 and 34 runs respectively, which are pretty comprehensive in T20 cricket. It is almost as if MI can’t put a foot wrong. They score heavily in the death overs, but their bowlers choke the opposition in the final five, as shown against Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Their only concern at the top, Quinton de Kock, fired at the right time, allowing the side to tick more boxes along the way.
Rohit Sharma and Steve Smith are two of the world’s finest batsmen, but their record as IPL couldn’t be more contrasting. While MI look composed in their line-up, there must be a few concerns for Smith, especially if his decision to open the innings is current as far as team balance is concerned. Maybe it’s time for Smith to slot himself at 4 and allow a struggling Robin Uthappa a chance to get going at the top?
In the last five encounters between these two teams, the Royals have enjoyed a 4-1 record against the four-time IPL champions. But based on current form, MI are strong contenders to stop RR’s juggernaut against them.
What: Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2020, Match 20
When: October 6, 2020, Tuesday
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Mumbai Indians: There was an outside chance that Chris Lynn may finally get to play his maiden game of the season with de Kock’s struggle at the top, but the South African roared back to form with a knock of 67 off 39 balls to pretty much secure his place at the top. Expect Rohit to field an unchanged XI in a bid to register a hat-trick of wins
Probable XI: 1 Rohit Sharma (Captain), 2 Quinton de Kock (Wicketkeeper), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 James Pattinson, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Rajasthan Royals: Ben Stokes has joined the Rajasthan Royals squad but the mandatory six-day quarantine will prevent him from playing on Tuesday. That said, Uthappa’s struggles could pave way for domestic veteran Manan Vohra, unless the Royals promote Uthappa to open the innings. Riyan Parag could be left out following scores of 6, 0, 1 and 16 for Ankit Rajpoot. Left-arm quick Jaydev Unadkat has been pretty ordinary in three matches and RR could swap him for pacer Varun Aaron or leg-spinner Mayank Markande.
Probable XI: 1 Steve Smith, 2 Jos Buttler, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 Manan Vohra/Robin Uthappa, 5 Mahipal Lomror, 6 Ankit Rajpoot, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Jofra Archer, 9 Tom Curran, 10 Shreyas Gopal, 11 Jaydev Unadkat/Varun Aaron
Stats and Trivia –
– Kieron Pollard needs to score 82 to get to 3000 runs in the IPL
– The West Indies all-rounder has an average of 163, the highest by any player in this year’s IPL
– Rohit Sharma needs another 45 runs to become the fifth player to score 500 runs against RR.
– Rohit is also one fifty away from becoming the leading IPL half-centurion among Indian players
– Steve Smith is 3 sixes away from completing 100 sixes in T20s
– Jos Buttler is 50 runs away from completing 6,000 runs in T20s