Skipper Rohit Sharma’s fitness would be a concern for defending champions Mumbai Indians as they aim to continue their dominant run, while a depleted Rajasthan Royals would hope to stay afloat when the two teams clash in an IPL match on Sunday.
Mumbai roared back to form by crushing Chennai Super Kings by 10 wickets on Friday after their Super Over loss to the Kings XI Punjab. RR, on the other hand, lost to the Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets in their last game.
Table-toppers MI are on course to make it to the play-offs but the game is crucial for Rajasthan, who are languishing at seventh place and a loss would mean a step closer to elimination.
Mumbai Indians results
|MI vs CSK||19 Sep, Sat (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI lost by 5 wickets||0|
|KKR vs MI||23 Sep, Wed (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 49 runs||2|
|RCB vs MI||28 Sep, Mon (1930)||Dubai||MI lost in Super Over||2|
|KXIP vs MI||1 Oct, Thu (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 48 runs||4|
|MI vs SRH||4 Oct, Sun (1530)||Sharjah||MI won by 34 runs||6|
|MI vs RR||6 Oct, Tue (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 57 runs||8|
|MI vs DC||11 Oct, Sun (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 5 wickets||10|
|MI vs KKR||16 Oct, Fri (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 8 wickets||12|
|MI vs KXIP||18 Oct, Sun (1930)||Dubai||MI lost in Super Over||12|
|CSK vs MI||23 Oct, Fri (1930)||Sharjah||MI won by 10 wickets||14|
Rohit’s fitness worry
Questions remain on whether Rohit, who suffered a hamstring injury and missed the game against CSK, will be available on Sunday for MI.
But Rohit’s absence was hardly felt on Friday as the young Ishan Kishan (261 runs) launched into CSK bowlers with gusto.
So did Quinton De Kock (368 runs), continuing his sublime run. In the event of Rohit missing out on Sunday as well, the two will open again.
Mumbai’s middle-order has also been among runs – be it Suryakumar Yadav (243 runs), Hardik Pandya (164 runs), swashbuckling West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard (208 runs) or Krunal Pandya (82 runs).
With their big-hitting ability, the Pandya brothers and Pollard are a threat to any opposition.
MI bowlers are also wreaking havoc, especially New Zealand’s left-arm pacer Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah, who are lethal upfront and in the death.
The two have accounted for 33 wickets, while Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile (2 wickets) has supported the duo.
Spinners Krunal (5 wickets) and Rahul Chahar (13 wickets) are equally aggressive in the middle overs and perform the dual task of containing and grabbing wickets with utmost ease.
Will Smith find form?
For Rajasthan, the biggest worry is the form of skipper Steve Smith, who has made 265 runs from 11 matches and a misfiring top-order.
In the course of the season, Rajasthan have made constant changes at the top and that has hurt them badly.
The team does possess quality players like Ben Strokes (110 runs), Sanju Samson (272 runs) and Jos Buttler (271 runs), but the trio has failed to deliver collectively.
With two crucial points at stake, the management would be hoping that the three click on Sunday, something which has not happened this season.
Rajasthan Royals results
|RR vs CSK||22 Sep, Tue (1930)||Sharjah||RR won by 16 runs||2|
|RR vs KXIP||27 Sep, Sun (1930)||Sharjah||RR won by 4 wickets||4|
|RR vs KKR||30 Sep, Wed (1930)||Dubai||RR lost by 37 runs||4|
|RCB vs RR||3 Oct, Sat (1530)||Abu Dhabi||RR lost by 8 wickets||4|
|MI vs RR||6 Oct, Tue (1930)||Abu Dhabi||RR lost by 57 runs||4|
|RR vs DC||9 Oct, Fri (1930)||Sharjah||RR lost by 46 runs||4|
|SRH vs RR||11 Oct, Sun (1530)||Dubai||RR won by 5 wickets||6|
|DC vs RR||14 Oct, Wed (1930)||Dubai||RR lost by 13 runs||6|
|RR vs RCB||17 Oct, Sat (1530)||Dubai||RR lost by 7 wickets||6|
|CSK vs RR||19 Oct, Mon (1930)||Abu Dhabi||RR won by 7 wickets||8|
|RR vs SRH||22 Oct, Thu (1930)||Dubai||RR lost by 8 wickets||8|
All-rounder Rahul Tewatia (224 runs and 7 wickets) has been a revelation with both the bat and ball, but too much is being left for him to achieve.
Their younger players are also getting starts but need to convert them and take responsibility in case the seniors misfire again.
On the bowling front too, RR lack consistency.
Only Jofra Archer (15 wickets) has been effective with his pace but has failed to get support from fellow pacers Karthik Tyagi, Jaydev Unadkat and Ankit Rajpoot, who have 12 wickets combined. Spinner Shreyas Gopal has leaked 343 runs from 11 games.
With Tyagi giving away 42 runs against SRH, he could be replaced by Varun Aaron. Stokes as a bowler has been unimpressive as he has failed to get a single wicket so far.
Head to head
RR vs MI H2H
|Matches||RR won||MI won||Tied|
|RR vs MI||21||10||11||0|
|Mahipal Lomror||Ankit Rajpoot||Shreyas Gopal||Jos Buttler|
|Manan Vohra||Mayank Markande||Ben Stokes||Robin Uthappa|
|Riyan Parag||Jofra Archer||Rahul Tewatia||Sanju Samson|
|David Miller||Varun Aaron||Shashank Singh||Anuj Rawat|
|Steve Smith||Jaydev Unadkat||Anirudha Joshi|
|Yashasvi Jaiswal||Kartik Tyagi|
|Rohit Sharma||Dhawal Kulkarni||Hardik Pandya||Ishan Kishan|
|Sherfane Rutherford||Jasprit Bumrah||Jayant Yadav||Quinton de Kock|
|Suryakumar Yadav||James Pattinson||Kieron Pollard||Aditya Tare|
|Anmolpreet Singh||Mitchell McClenaghan||Krunal Pandya|
|Chris Lynn||Rahul Chahar||Anukul Roy|
|Saurabh Tiwary||Trent Boult||Digvijay Deshmukh|
|Nathan Coulter-Nile||Prince Balwant Rai Singh|
Match starts at 1930 IST and will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and Disney+Hotstar
(With PTI inputs)