Its crunch time for the Rajasthan Royals tomorrow, their 2019 IPL campaign is starting to spiral out of control after losing five out of their six last matches. A third-consecutive loss could be detrimental to Rajasthan’s season, they’ll have overcome the in-form Mumbai Indians if they are to keep their slim-playoffs chances alive. A good little purple patch in the tournament has seen Mumbai elevate themselves to third in the standings, can they continue their hot streak at wankhede?
A scintillating run chase to win the game against Kings XI Punjab really has boosted the morale of this Mumbai Indians side. They weren’t given much of a chance after KL Rahul and Chris Gayle smashed 163 runs between them at the top of the order, and it certainly didn’t help that Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav were both dismissed in the 20’s. Stand-in captain Kieron Pollard walked to the crease with one thing in mind, to win the game. The powerful-Trinidadian left nothing in the tank as he walloped a clinical-10 sixes over the fence to keep Mumbai in the contest! It was something special alright, Pollard’s rapid-fire 83 came off just 31 balls and proved to be a match-winning knock. With the underperforming-Rohit Sharma set to return against the Royals, he needs to find his rhythm again just like Pollard who has scored 46* & 83 in his past two IPL outings. Debutante Siddhesh Lad who looked impressive early before Punjab’s bowlers choked him up will most-likely be the player to make way for Rohit, they also have the option to bring back Yuvraj Singh if need be.
He may have been expensive in the runs-department, but all-rounder Hardik Pandya made some vital breakthroughs just when Kings XI looked on track to surpass the 200-run mark. The big-wicket of David Miller definitely restricted the oppositions power-hitting towards the backend of the innings, and he’ll be looking to do the same against the Royals. None of their bowlers have had a great tournament, they’ve just done enough as a unit to combine-well at certain times. After his record-breaking six-wicket haul, Alzarri Joseph was brought back down to earth with figures of 0/22 off his two overs. Jasprit Bumrah hasn’t been at his best this season, he’s managed just two wickets in his past four appearances for Mumbai but is more than capable of turning that around. Look out for Lasith Malinga tomorrow, he’s expected to be one of two inclusions for this match.
There’s not a lot the Rajasthan Royals can do at the moment other than working on converting these losses into wins. They are basically playing their best XI from the 2019 squad, maybe the question has to be asked – is it really Rajasthan’s best playing XI? The results certainly don’t back that up. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane has been frustrating to watch this season, just when he looks like compiling an innings of significance he’s walking back to the dugout only a matter of balls later. Both Steve Smith and Jos Buttler have been consistent contributors for the Royals in the top order, hopefully the return of Sanju Samson can boost their batting-prowess sooner rather than later. Samson already has a century to his name in the 2019 IPL, however he’s scored just 44 runs in his other three matches, not dissimilar to Delhi’s Prithvi Shaw. Rajasthan desperately need a big innings from Ben Stokes in the middle order, the English all-rounder has really struggled to get going this season.
The makeup of their squad doesn’t allow certain players to play, for instance Ish Sodhi. The Black Caps spinner is a proven match-winner, however with the likes of Buttler, Smith and Stokes all featuring as specialist overseas batsmen in the XI, that leaves just one vacant spot for an overseas bowler. There’s no way Jofra Archer will be getting dropped, so they’ve had to make do with their local players who’ve been relatively-ineffective. He may have gone wicketless in his last outing, but Shreyas Gopal has been their most potent bowler with 8 wickets in IPL 12. The likes of Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat need to start having more of an impact, Ben Stokes has been expensive but on the contrary has been able to take wickets in the process. They’re not without a chance in this match, Mumbai has a tendency to lose wickets easily throughout the innings which could open the door for Rajasthan.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Mumbai Indians
- Suryakumar Yadav
- Hardik Pandya
- Quinton de Kock
- Lasith Malinga
Wildcard pick – Rahul Chahar
Top 4 fantasy picks – Rajasthan Royals
- Jos Buttler
- Ben Stokes
- Sanju Samson
- Jofra Archer
Wildcard pick – Shreyas Gopal
Mumbai Indians (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma © 2. Quinton de Kock (wk) 3. Suryakumar Yadav 4. Ishan Kishan/Yuvraj Singh 5. Kieron Pollard 6. Hardik Pandya 7. Krunal Pandya 8. Rahul Chahar 9. Alzarri Joseph/Jason Behrendorff 10. Jasprit Bumrah 11. Lasith Malinga.
Rajasthan Royals (possible) – 1. Ajinkya Rahane © 2. Jos Buttler 3. Sanju Samson (wk) 4. Steve Smith 5. Ben Stokes 6. Rahul Tripathi 7. Riyan Parag 8. Jofra Archer 9. Shreyas Gopal 10. Jaydev Unadkat 11. Dhawal Kulkarni.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.