Match 66 Preview: Royals Want Perfect Farewell for Warne, vs MI

Rajasthan Royals play their last match of 2011 edition at Mumbai. Royals will be keen on giving the perfect farewell to their captain Shane Warne, but Mumbai Indians must win the comparatively easier match than waiting for the last match against stronger KKR. A classic farewell opportunity for Warne, saying goodbye bowling against Tendulkar.

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 7 matches and with one match abandoned in 2009, both are level with 3 wins each.

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. But Royals trounced MI at Jaipur in 2011, and the strong MI team can never forget the humiliating loss. Can it serve as inspiration or fear!!

2011 Performances
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. But Rajasthan Royals humiliated them at Jaipur restricting them to one of the lowest IPL total. Then Indians thumped Kings XI at home. Last match saw them winning easily against Pune Warriors. They knocked out Delhi Daredevils and assured a place in Knock-out phase. But the strongest team went in danger of not qualifying for the knockout after being Kings XI trounced them in Away match and DC avenged defeat in Mumbai.

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. Botha, their best batsman with his allround performance drubbed the invincible appearing Mumbai Indians, when Royals bowled them for one of the lowest IPL scores. Then they went on to drub Pune Warriors at home, before being knocked down convincingly by CSK in their last match. In the back-to-back match, CSK breached the Jaipur forte too. Then Gayle and Aravind inspired RCB knocked them down, another home loss before Kochi Tuskers routed them at Indore.

Player’s Performance
Rajasthan Royals player performance index does show 6 batsmen above 100-mark, but the highest is mere 300 by Dravid. Others including Watson have failed to rise upto high level. Botha has got confused after various change in roles and lost the touch with which he started the tournament. Batting is worrying. Their bowlers have taken only 50 wickets in 13 matches, with Warne being the top ten bowler of the tournament so far. Even bowling has failed despite having played many matches at their turning pitches.

Mumbai Indians top order batsmen shows three batsmen player’s performance index scoring high. Sachin is lagging behind in the race to Orange cap, and Malinga’s Purple Cap is guaranted for the tournament now. Rohit in 200-club, Rayudu in 300-club and Sachin in 400-club are the main scorers of team and that is worrying. Symonds and Pollard are in 100-club and their lack of runs is one of the main reason for MIs fate hanging in imbalance. The bowlers have been exceptional taking 77 wickets in 12 matches, providing the best bowling 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

2011

    RR def MI by 7 wkts

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 31 Wins, 24 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 but they have lost the Orange Cap. Yet, the hard fact is that from a strong position after two consecutive defeats, they are staring at the possibility of being knocked out of the tournament.

Royals on the other hand as already humiliated them at Jaipur in this edition. After looking set to qualify for knockout, now they stand knocked out of the tournament. Yet, this last group match may be the most inspiring match for them. With Warne retiring from IPL, this is his last match. Royals must be set to give their champion captain a memorable send-off. MI has edge, but RR has emotinal firework.

Key Battles
Sachin vs Warne/Tait
Sachin would be the first target to strike. While Tait can try during his initial overs, Warne would be keen to say goodbye to Sachin on pitch at least bowling one over to him. A settled Sachin would hae serious implications for RR. Tait can be key in taking 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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