Rajasthan Royals are in need of a victory under their belt. After winning the first two games, we lost the last two. Going by the past record we have against MI, we can’t ask for a better opportunity to get back to winning ways, when we face them in Abu Dhabi.
In our last game, the Royals middle order was strengthened with the addition of Mahipal Lomror. The move proved to be fruitful, but only after our top order was dismissed quite cheaply. The top order has not delivered in our last two losses, but it’s only a matter of time Jos Buttler finds his form. He can do it against a team he was once a part of & now, loves to score against – Mumbai Indians.
Rohit Sharma’s team have been in good touch They went to the top of the points table after a resounding win over Sunrisers in Sharjah. However, we can take some inspiration from our record against MI since 2018. We played them 4 times, and won on each occasion, the only team to do so against the defending champions. MI’s batting line-up is pretty much the same from what they had fielded in these two years, but they have added a couple of new bowlers in Boult & Pattinson this year.
A surprising fact about each of our last 4 wins against MI is that we have won all games chasing. The trend of chasing after winning the toss is slowly diminishing as captains are opting to bat first after watching most of the results. The two teams top the sixes chart this season. MI have hit 53 in 5 games, while Rajasthan Royals have smashed 51 in 4. This itself gives us an indication of what kind of power-hitting we can expect when the two teams clash on Tuesday.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Our speckless record in Abu Dhabi was slightly tarnished after our loss to RCB on Saturday. However, we’ve still won 3 of the 4 games we played here over the years. The batsmen going for big shots need to absolutely middle the ball to clear the ropes here. Mahipal Lomror led by example as he chose the right balls to clear even the longest boundary. Shot selection at this venue is quite vital.
Buttler vs MI bowlers
This is a battle that instantly comes to our mind, although it’s quite one-sided in Buttler’s favour. He averages 94.5 and strikes at 182 against Mumbai Indians, a side he’d played for in 2016 and 2017. Nobody has a better average against MI than the Boss among batsmen who’ve scored over 150 runs. This is when we need him to fire and he couldn’t ask for a better opponent than MI.
Jofra Archer vs Jasprit Bumrah
This battle isn’t about the duo facing each other when either of them comes out to bat. It’s sheerly about their bowling abilities, perhaps the best in the business. Archer has bowled 51 dots, while Bumrah has bowled 55 this season. Their bowling is key to their respective teams. Jofra is way ahead on economy rate though, conceding runs at under 7, while Bumrah’s been expensive this season. Archer seems to enjoy bowling against the MI batsmen, having claimed 9 wickets in 4 games.
Jaydev Unadkat vs Rohit Sharma
Rohit loves pace off the pitch, but that is something he may not easily receive from Unadkat, who would bowl to him in the Powerplay. In 7 face-offs, Rohit has scored 39 runs off 25 balls and has been dismissed twice. JD’s cutters and slower-one could be used to good effect against the MI skipper.
The focus will be purely to get some winning momentum our way, as we play our fifth game. A few teams are claiming position in the top 4 already, and it will be a bit of a concern if we fall behind. Our net run-rate isn’t the best, and we could do with a big win as well, not easy, but not impossible either. Beating one of the best sides in the league will be a great way to get things back on track.