Rajasthan Royals (RR) will seek a winning return as they take on Mumbai Indians (MI) in Match 45 of the Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Having secured 7 wins from 10 matches, MI are currently sitting at the top of the points table. On the other hand, RR, are on the seventh spot in the standings having secured 4 wins from their 11 games.
In their last meeting, MI beat RR by 57 runs on the back of Suryakumar Yadav's 79* and Jasprit Bumrah's four-wicket haul. While MI will be out to make it 2-0 in their head-to-head battle against RR this season, RR will be eager to avenge that loss and register their fifth win.
Rajasthan Royals got off to the best possible start to the tournament but weren't able to use that start to their advantage. After winning both of their first two matches, the Royals subsequently lost seven out of their next nine matches and now find themselves in a do-or-die situation.
We have seen plenty of moments of brilliance from the Royals camp, but we are yet to see a complete team performance from them. Ben Stokes hasn't really adapted to the new role at the top of the order and that was evident from the last innings that he played. While Jos Buttler has done reasonably well in the middle-order, he has looked far from his best. The only move that seems to have worked for them is sending Robin Uthappa at the top of the order. On paper, the Royals have a terrific batting unit that goes pretty deep with Jofra Archer available to bat at number eight. They have world-class players available right through their lineup and should not be discounted.
In the previous match, the over-reliance of Rajasthan Royals on Jofra Archer to pick wickets was well and truly apparent. Kartik Tyagi has impressed with the ball, he lacks control and is prone to crumble under pressure as we saw in the previous match. Gopal and Tewatia are both pretty good exponents of spin bowling but have more often been employed to contain runs rather than to pick wickets.
In the previous match, the over-reliance of Rajasthan Royals on Jofra Archer to pick wickets was well and truly apparent. Rajasthan Royals sit amongst the lowest-ranked teams in the tournament when it comes to picking up wickets in middle-overs. While Kartik Tyagi has impressed with the ball, he lacks control and is prone to crumble under pressure as we saw in the previous match. Gopal and Tewatia are both pretty good exponents of spin bowling but have more often been employed to contain runs rather than to pick wickets.
The highlight of Friday's game for Mumbai Indians was not that they won, but the manner in which they won and the fact that their win came without Rohit Sharma available to lead them. There's hardly anything that Mumbai Indians have done wrong in the tournament gone so far. Ever since their loss against CSK in the opening match of the tournament, Mumbai Indians have looked at their brutal best and the only two losses that came thereafter came in the super-overs. Even without Rohit Sharma, MI's batting looks pretty settled. Ishan Kishan and Quinton de Kock smashed Chennai Super Kings' bowlers all around the park to extend their good run in the tournament. With the likes of Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, and Krunal Pandya, Mumbai Indians have a terrific lower middle-order, which has already proved its worth so often in the tournament.
To complement the terrific batting unit that Mumbai Indians have, they have a world-class bowling attack. Mumbai's bowling attack doesn't really take time to adapt to different conditions. An example of their adaptability was visible against Chennai Super Kings as they dismantled CSK to a subpar total on a surface that appeared to be a batting-beauty. Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, and Nathan Coulter Nile are all wicket-taking options and been in terrific form so far, both at the death and in the powerplays.
As is apparent from the points table, Mumbai Indians have played flawless cricket in the tournament so far. With a balanced batting unit and a lethal batting attack, they have all their bases covered, and given the form Mumbai Indians are in, getting past them will take an extraordinary effort from any team in the tournament.
It will be a little cooler evening in Abu Dhabi as compared to the rest of the month. The temperature is expected to hover around 29 and 30 degrees during the match. Humidity will be around 36% and there's no chance of precipitation. A wind-speed of around 19km/h is expected.
The pitch at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi has surprisingly favoured the bowlers, especially over the last week. The bigger boundaries in Abu Dhabi makes it difficult for batsmen to hammer too many sixes. Given the nature of the surface, which will be pretty slow, going after the bowling right from the outset is not going to be difficult. However, this may change in the second innings. With dew likely to assist the team batting second, the team batting first will want to put a total of at least 175 runs on the board.
Teams batting second emerging triumphant more often than not in the recent matches. Much of that is due to the surface getting lively under lights. Dew too has had a massive impact in the last few matches and the same is likely to be the case yet again. The captain winning the toss is expected to field first.
Head-to-Head and Stats:
Head to head: Matches Played: 23
Mumbai Indians: 12
Rajasthan Royals: 11
Sanju Samson needs 19 runs to complete 2500 IPL runs.
Jos Buttler requires 2 sixes to complete 50 IPL sixes for RR.
Jasprit Bumarah needs 1 wicket to complete 100 IPL wickets.
Ishan Kishan requires 44 runs to complete 1000 IPL runs.
Rajasthan Royals: Robin Uthappa, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (wk), Steven Smith (capt), Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Kartik Tyagi
Mumbai Indians: Quinton de Kock (wk), Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary, Kieron Pollard (capt), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Players to Watch Out For:
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer
Mumbai Indians: Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Mumbai Indians: 1.66
Rajasthan Royals: 2.20
SantaBanta's Winner Prediction: Mumbai Indians
IPL 2020 Winner Live Odds:
Mumbai Indians - 2.75
Royal Challengers Bangalore - 3.75
Delhi Capitals - 4.5
Kings XI Punjab - 8.5
Kolkata Knight Riders -9
Sunrisers Hyderabad - 341
Chennai Super Kings - 67
Rajasthan Royals - 201
Match Venue: Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Time: 7.30 PM IST
TV: Star Sports Network.
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP