As Mumbai Indians (MI) get ready to take on an off-colour Rajasthan Royals (RR) here on Tuesday, MI captain Rohit Sharma will particularly look forward to scoring 86 more runs that will take him to 4,000 runs while representing his home city in the IPL.
Rohit, though, has also represented the erstwhile Deccan Chargers.
Team wise, however, there is little to differentiate between RR MI in the IPL. Both teams have won 10 games each in head to head contests. But on current form, MI look favourites.
RR have a handful of concerns. Robin Uthappa’s poor form is one of these. With Ben Stokes still in quarantine, the 2008 champions will have to look elsewhere for a turn in their fortunes.
Will Royals include talented Yashasvi Jasiwal, the 18-year-old a left-handed batsman? Or will they consolidate their pace department with the inclusion of maybe Varun Aaron?
On the other hand, reigning champions MI will aim to displace Delhi Capitals from the top of the points table with another win at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
The Rohit Sharma-led MI will aim for a hat-trick of wins after winning their previous two games against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) comprehensively.
While the Steve Smith-led RR started their campaign with a bang but later looked to be out of track as they have now two defeats on the trot.
Four-time champions MI have been clinical in all the departments of the game. Batsmen Rohit and Ishan Kishan have been in sublime form while Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and Keiron Pollard have also equally supported the top-order with their cameos down the order.
Their major concern, Quinton de Kock, has finally regained touch after his blistering 67 against SRH.
Meanwhile, MI bowlers — Jasprit Bumrah, James Pattinson and Trent Boult — have also performed decently enough as they have succeeded in giving some tough time to the opposition. The trio has received good support from their spinners Rahul Chahar and Krunal, who have come with breakthroughs whenever their side needed.
In such a scenario, the MI think-tank is unlikely going to tinker their winning combination against RR.
RR were on the winning side in their first two games in Sharjah, which has small boundary than the other two venues and the track too assisted the batters. However, a change in the venue also resulted in the downfall of RR as they failed to adapt to the conditions and were on the receiving end in their last two games.
RR’s batsmen, barring opener Sanju Samson, have failed to get going. Their star batsmen like Steve Smith and Jos Buttler seem to be struggling with the willow while Rahul Tewatia has also failed to keep the momentum going. Then, young Riyan Parag has not been up to the expectation and the RR think-tank might opt to drop him against MI.
In their bowling, except Jofra Archer, who too, has been average so far, the other RR bowlers have failed to click. Pacer Jaydev Unadkat and Tom Curran too have let their team down on various occasions and the RR team management would likely drop any of the two in order to possibly accommodate Varun Aaron.
While the Jharkhand pacer hasn’t played any game so far, but his ability to generate good bounce and bowl consistently around 140 kph could help him get a call in the playing XI. Shreyas Gopal and Tewatia would once again share the spin workload but they need to be economical beside getting wickets at regular intervals.