The second match of this Sunday double-header takes us to Jaipur, where the Rajasthan Royals are set to take on the Mumbai Indians. Kolkata defeated Rajasthan the last time they played here, a rare victory for a visitor in what has been a fortress for Rajasthan over the years. Rohit Sharma’s return to form is an ominous sign for any team, while Rajasthan’s lack of it as a unit is a worrying one for them.
The winner of this fixture will automatically jump to the sixth position on the points table. Neither team has had a promising start to the IPL so far, but Sharma and Lewis announced Mumbai’s arrival in the last game after they went from 0-2 to 213-6. Can they continue their winning run, or will Rajasthan bounce back from two defeats on the trot?
Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Evin Lewis, Saurabh Tiwary, Ben Cutting, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Tajinder Singh, Sharad Lumba, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Mayank Markande, Akila Dananjaya, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne.
Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Rahul Tripathi, D'Arcy Short, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Heinrich Klaasen, Ish Sodhi.
Where the teams stand
The Indians’ return in the last match is a testament to the quality amongst their ranks. Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan were both two of the highest run-getters for Mumbai in the games before, and both were dismissed in the first two balls of the innings. Yadav bowled some absolute peaches to get them dismissed. Lewis looked in good form against Delhi, and he continued his good run with the captain, who ended up scoring 94 after disappointing in the first three games. The top four are now all in great form and are a danger to any attack. However, the order beyond them is looking a little shaky considering Krunal and Pollard have not been putting in the performances their team needs. Hardik has played some useful cameos down the order, but the fifth and sixth spot in Mumbai is vulnerable. If Rajasthan can get a few early wickets, those two will definitely be under pressure to score.
Mumbai’s bowlers are the only reason their loss margins have been so small in the initial stages of the tournament. Markande and Mustafizur have been excellent while Bumrah continues to be at his best. Even Krunal Pandya has been a very handy option with the ball. He took three wickets against RCB and one against DD, conceding at just 7 in both matches. Mumbai have tinkered with the spot reserved for the fourth foreigner, using a host of players to find the right fit. McClenaghan looks likely to occupy it for a few games at least after his performance against RCB. Besides Krunal, Hardik too can be handy with the ball. He was fantastic against CSK but leaky against DD. Overall, this is a very efficient bowling attack that will certainly hold the advantage over a struggling RR batting.
Fantasy Picks: The top four are an easy fit into any fantasy squad. The Fizz, Bumrah, and Markande are great options with the ball. Hardik’s all-round abilities and pinch-hitting make him a gamble, but one that has a knack for paying off often enough.
Maintaining the Sawai Man Singh’s reputation as a fortress for themselves is going to be quite a task for Rajasthan this season. They have not been performing well after returning from a two-year hiatus and will need to start winning soon if they wish to qualify for the knockoffs. Klaasen’s inclusion in the last match did not quite work out after he was dismissed for just 7, but he can hit the ball a long mile. Rahane looked in good touch against KKR, but he has failed to lead from the top in the IPL so far. Samson has struggled in the two matches following his unbelievable knock against RCB. Expectations will be high from him in this game considering he has been Rajasthan’s most successful batsmen this term. Stokes has gotten off to decent starts, but has not looked the most comfortable in the middle. He was the last man standing in their last game, but he needs to perform the way he did with Pune if RR are to be successful. There is a case to be made for Tripathi opening, especially after how successful he was doing so in last years edition. Klaasen plays lower down the order for South Africa anyway, and Tripathi is being wasted so far down the order. With Buttler being on and off, Klaasen might just consolidate the lower middle order, and Rahul the top.
Shreyas Gopal continues to be the solitary ray of hope in the Rajasthan bowling attack. Everyone else is being pummelled for runs. Unadkat looks set to join the pantheon of stars who have failed to justify a perhaps absurdly high price tag. While 11mil is a high price, an average economy of over 10 is simply too high even for a pacer this year. Binny’s inclusion in the last match did not work out as he conceding over 30 in two overs. Stokes too has been unsuccessful with the ball, while Laughlin has been as expensive as Unadkat. Overall, this attack is looking very ordinary bar one bowler, and against an in-form Mumbai, it could be curtains for Rajasthan quite early on into this one.
Fantasy Picks: The names stay the same. Rahane, Stokes, and Gopal are the only ones worth having. Klaasen might be a useful gamble, but he has only played one game so far.
Mumbai win. With their batsmen in form and the bowling clicking, a struggling RR will find it close to impossible to beat them.
Will the Indians get the win we all anticipate or could the Royals cause an upset? Let us know in the comments and poll below.