Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals have 10 points from 11 matches. A play-offs berth hinges on Sunday's meeting for both.
Having notched three straight victories after a string of losses, Mumbai Indians are looking to defeat Rajasthan Royals and inch closer to a play-offs berth when the two sides face each other in an Indian Premier League encounter in Mumbai on Sunday.
It’s been a dramatic turnaround for the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians after a string a losses early in the tournament. The two back-to-back wins against Kolkata Knight Riders, especially their massive 102 run win in Kolkata, would have boosted their confidence.
Courtesy that win, Mumbai Indians are fourth with 10 points from 11 games.
Rajasthan Royals also have 10 points from 11 matches and both sides know they will be playing a do-or-die match on Sunday.
The losing side will be virtually out of reckoning for a play-offs berth.
For Mumbai Indians, barring Evin Lewis, their batting has clicked in the latter half of the tournament. Suryakumar Yadav, in the form of his life, has given Mumbai a solid start time and again but needs support from Lewis.
Skipper Rohit has only one knock to cherish till now -- his match winning 94 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium -- but apart from that he hasn’t performed up to his standard and would be keen to get a big one on Sunday.
The problem for Mumbai is their inconsistent middle order, though the blazing half century by rookie stumper Ishan Kishan would have given relief to coach Mahela Jayawardene.
If Yadav, Rohit, Lewis, Ishan and J P Duminy go all guns blazing it will be difficult to stop them. Add to it the firepower of Ben Cutting and Krunal and Hardik Pandya, their batting can be most devastating.
After flying starts, Mumbai often lose their way in the middle and their batters will have to make amends on this aspect if they want to have a shot at a play-offs berth.
On the bowling front, young leggie Mayank Markande is the find of the season and his role will be crucial if the likes of the rampaging Jos Buttler and other Rajasthan batters are to be restricted.
Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik, Mitchell McClenaghan, Cutting and Krunal make for Mumbai Indians’s well-poised attack and they will have to hit the deck right.
Again, an out of form West Indian Kieron Pollard is likely to sit out.
Mumbai had suffered five losses in their first six games in 2015 and then from there went on to clinch the title. They must be hoping they can turn it around this time too.
For Rajasthan Royals, the form of opener Butler is the biggest positive. But their out-of-form skipper Ajinkya Rahane will need to pull his socks up.
Others like Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny and Rahul Tripathi need to chip in and aid Buttler.
Englishman Ben Strokes is yet to live up to expectations and the costly price tag, and so is Saurashtra pacer Jaydev Unadkat.
The Rajasthan bowlers, who went for runs against the Chennai Super Kings on Friday night, will have to get their act right.
It will be a do-or-die battle for the both the teams and a win would certainty boost their chances of making to the play-offs.
The teams (From):
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McLenaghan, Mustafizur Rahaman, Jasprit Bumrah, Akila Dananjaya, Ben Cutting, JP Duminy, Rahul Chahar, Sharad Lumba, Adam Milne, Siddhesh Lad, Md Nidheesh, Mohsin Khan, Anukul Roy, Pradeep Sangwan, Tajinder Singh, Aditya Tare, Saurabh Tiwary.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), 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, Heinrich Klaasen, Ish Sodhi.
Match starts: 2000 IST