Match 34 Preview: Mumbai Indians Take on Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan Royals becomes the first team to cross half-way mark with their 8th match against Mumbai Indians. Yet with 7 points they are lagging at 5th position. Mumbai Indians on the other hand have looked unbeatable with 5 wins out of 6 matches. Only Kochi nailed them with power-hitting, despite Sachin’s first century in this format. Royals have power hitters too, but can the strong MI bowling and fielding let them flourish!!

History
The matches between both teams have been of special interest as Cricket’s two greatest rivals face-off again as captains. Warne Vs Tendulkar always rules, setting aside all other attractions, when MI plays RR. So far they have played 6 matches and with one match abandoned in 2009, MI leads against RR with 3-2.

MI has defeated Royals even in 2008, when they won record number of matches on their way to championship victory. MI defeated Royals in last edition too, in both the group matches, when Indians entered the final, and lost, for the first time in their history.

2011 Performances
Without the services of fiery Watson, who was Player of the Tournament in 2008, Royals have produced two emphatic wins. They drubbed their prey Deccan Chargers easily and then went on to thump Delhi Daredevils. But after that they had to play two back-to-back matches against Kolkata Knight Riders. In third match, their record of defending totals above 145 runs was broken against KKR, and in fourth match at Edens, they scored the third-ever lowest score of IPL, losing it againt to KKR. Kings XI had further humiliation in store for RR. Last match not only saw them humiliating Kochi Tuskers, but more important saw Watson, Warne and Dravid performance that promises bigger show in future matches.

Mumbai Indians defeated Delhi Daredevils by 8 wickets, after bundling them below 100. Against Royal Challengers Banglore Mumbai Indians bowler laid the ground for a low chase, and batsmen ensured another emphatic victory by 9 wickets. But, in the home match against fresher Kochi Tuskers, despite scoring high total batting first for the first time, the bowlers failed to defend. But, they bounced back and thumped Pune Warriors India. Against champions CSK, MI humbled them easily with Harbhajan’s spins that recorded one of the IPL’s best bowling performances. In the last match, they thumped Deccan Chargers in away match to celebrate Sachin’s birthday.

Player’s Performance
Rajasthan Royals player performance index shows better batting, with five batsmen touching 100-mark, but the highest is still just 153 that too by unconventional Dravid who is warming the bench continuously. Their bowlers have taken 29 wickets in 7 matches.

Mumbai Indians top order batsmen and bowlers have shown exceptional high in player’s performance index. Sachin has the Orange cap again, and Malinga’s Purple Cap is guaranted for at least 10 more matches. Rohit is approaching Sachin and Rayudu in the 200-club. Symonds is knocking at 100-club door and has remained unbeaten so far. The bowlers have been exceptional taking 38 wickets in 6 matches, one of the best performances of tournament so far.

Head-to-Head: MI 3, RR 2
2008

    MI def RR by 7 Wickets
    RR def MI by 5 Wickets

2009

    MI vs RR NR
    RR def MI by 2 Runs

2010

    MI def RR by 4 Runs
    MI def RR by 37 Runs

2008 Performance
On their way to championship RR won record 13 matches and lost just 3.
In 2008, MI won 7 and lost 7 too.

2009 Performance
South Africa did not suit them and they managed just 5 wins, Lost 8, and 1 was abandoned.
In 2009, MI won 5 and lost 8, with one match abandoned.

2010 Performance
RR again failed to enter knockout and could win only 6 and Lost 8 matches.
In 2010 they were extremely successful winning 11 and losing only 4.

Overall Performance
RR has a positive win loss ratio, making them one of the successful teams of IPL in last three editions. They have Won 24, Lost 19, and one match was abandoned.

Mumbai Indians have the best team record, after CSK with 23 Wins, 20 Losses, 1 NR. 2010 performance have made them one of the top 5 teams of the tournament with a positive win-loss ration in last three editions. Sachin Tendulkar, their captain, was adjudged Man of the Series, despite losing the final in 2010.

Who Will Win Today!
MI has the most successful and aggressive batting line-up. Their bowling and fielding combine to become a difficult-to-beat duo. They have the purple cap and they have the Orange Cap too. And they have beaten all, but Kochi, in last 6 matches very convincingly, including 2010 champion Chennai Super Kings.

Royals, struggling to reach knockout phase, after their 2008 victory, are finding themselves at odd position. Their first two matches took them to high position and earned them due respect, finally, more so because of their success without the services of Watson, who joined later, and Yusauf Pathan, who plays for KKR now. Ironically, since the time Watson returned it took 3 matches for Royals to decide the final XI and set the right position of Watson in batting, causing complete harakari in RR team. It resulted in 3 consecutive losses. But the win against Kochi in the last match at home, again showed why RR can be never written off.

Playing at home, against the strongest team of the tournament, will make them more determined to win, rather than feel nervous, and RR should emerge winner.

Key Battles
Sachin vs Warne/Tait
The Orange cap wearing Sachin would be the first target to strike. While Tait can try during his initial overs, Warne would be keen to not meet Sachin on pitch as by 7th over when he comes a settled Sachin would be waiting and that can have serious implications for RR. But for that Tait have to take out Sachin. Tendulkar, on the other hand, has failed in his last two innings. He can be back to his winning innings against RR.

Rayudu vs Watson
Rayudu has been the sensational performer of current IPL. Besides Tendulkar, his quick aggressive knocks have hurt the opponents most. Already scoring 201, he is one of the leading scorers of the tournament. Watson on the other hand has scored only 106 runs and take just 2 wickets. But if knock of 49 against Kochi can be taken as a sign of good omens for RR, Watson would start firing now. The success of either of these two will take their side home.

Rohit/Symonds vs Dravid/Menaria
Rohit Sharma and Symonds have played unbeatable innings so far and both are improving with every match. Their partnerships are unbeatable creating the record of highest partnerships also. On the other hand, Dravid the opener of RR has been consistent but have not scored a half-century so far. His previous IPL record show a major knock is due, and he may thrive on the bowling attack of MI at Jaipur and hit a memorable knock. Menaria is menacing, but is yet to play a memorable knock. Although he is playing cameos, the calibre is apparant and his consistently improving knocks may turn massive against MI’s bowling.

Mumbai Indians Squad
Batsman: Sachin Tendulkar (Captain), Ambati Rayudu, Rajagopal Sathish, Rohit Sharma, Tirumalasetti Suman, Aditya Tare (WK), Davy Jacobs (WK)
Allrounder: James Franklin, Moises Henriques, Kieron Pollard, Andrew Symonds
Bowlers: Aiden Blizzard, Dilhara Fernando, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Abu Nechim, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sarul Kanwar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ali Murtaza, Pawan Suyal, Santosh Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav

Rajasthan Royals Squad
Batsman: Ross Taylor, Rahul Dravid, Swapnil Asnodkar, Amit Singh, Ankeet Chavan, Aakash Chopra, Faiz Fazal, Amit Paunikar, Ajinkya Rahane, Pinal Shah(WK), Dishant Harendra Yagnik (WK)
Allrounder: Shane Watson, Paul Collingwood, Dinesh Salunkhe
Bowlers: Shane Warne (Captain), Shaun Tait, Stuart Binny, Aditya Dole, Nayan Doshi, Samad Fallah, Ashok Menaria, Sumit Narwal, Pankaj Singh, Abhishek Raut, Siddharth Trivedi

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