Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians is the most underrated rivalry in the IPL. The head to head between the teams yields no winner since both the teams have 11 wins each. But in recent times, RR has beaten Mumbai Indians 4 out of 4 times! In fact, the last time that MI beat RR was all the way back in 2015!
But all that is made up for because of that one fateful day at Wankhede Stadium in 2014. If you want to know more about that game, hust google MI vs RR 2014, because I just can’t write about it. That day was the worst day of my life as a sports fan, and still remains one of the most emotionally scarring experiences for me. And that is why every victory against MI is that much sweeter!
Mumbai Indians Probable XI
- Quinton De Kock* (wk)
- Rohit Sharma (c)
- Suryakumar Yadav
- Ishan Kishan
- Kieron Pollard*
- Hardik Pandya
- Krunal Pandya
- James Pattinson*
- Rahul Chahar
- Trent Boult*
- Jasprit Bumrah
This is the team that has made the least no. of changes to their team in this IPL. They have made just 1 change since the start of the tournament! And that too was a forced change because Saurabh Tiwary had gotten injured. The fact that they haven’t voluntarily removed anyone displays how well the team has been performing. After the opening game loss against CSK, they have really stepped up their game, and their only loss after that has come in a Super Over against RCB. All the departments have clicked, and they haven’t had to rely on individual performances to win them games.
Each of their victories was very convincing. Against KKR, we saw the brilliance of Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav. A special thing about this game was that every single MI bowler who bowled more than 1 over, got at least 1 wicket. Then against RCB, it was an unfortunate loss, but we saw a hero emerge. Ishan Kishan’s knock of 99 will remain one of the finest innings by a youngster in IPL history. His innings, along with Kieron Pollard’s power did manage to take the game into the super over, but MI failed to capitalise on the opportunity. The next game, however, was probably MI’s best in this IPL. Against KXIP, the hot and cold Rohit Sharma stepped up again and showed his class. He received no support from the other end though, and it didn’t seem like MI were going to put up a big score. But then MI’s biggest strength came to the fore. Their lower middle-order. Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya went off on their mad assault, and a score that had looked impossible was put up. In the bowling department, this time every single bowler got a wicket! They completely outplayed KXIP. In the last game against SRH, it was a team effort once again. Every batsman except Rohit Sharma scored at least 20 runs. And keeping the tradition alive, every bowler who bowled their full quota of overs took at least a wicket. This is an enormous achievement at a ground like Sharjah where the game is played on a highway and not a cricket pitch.
Kieron Pollard The Revelation
The biggest revelation in this IPL for MI has been Kieron Pollard. I have to admit that I, like many others, was sceptical of Kieron Pollard being a starter for MI this season. I didn’t think he would have much of an impact. But he has really proved his critics wrong. His batting has been exceptional, even earning him a man of the match award, but the real revelation has been his bowling. Kieron Pollard the bowler had disappeared from the IPL 3-4 years ago. But he has made a comeback this year, and a great one at that. He had bowled in the CPL, and had actually performed exceedingly well as a bowler there. And he has carried over that form into the more competitive IPL with ease. In fact, he has replaced Hardik Pandya as the team’s pace all-rounder, and Hardik has replaced him as specialist batsman, not having bowled a single ball this tournament. This is definitely a worrying sign for the Indian national team, but let’s not focus on that right now.
Rajasthan Royals Probable XI
- Jos Buttler
- Yashasvi Jaiswal
- Sanju Samson
- Steve Smith* (c)
- Mahipal Lomror
- Rahul Tewatia
- Tom Curran
- Jofra Archer*
- Shreyas Gopal
- Ankit Rajpoot
- Kartik Tyagi
Robbie Can’t Play
Some harsh calls have to be made in the Royals camp before tomorrow’s game. Some senior members of the squad will have to make compromises. The first is that Robbie Uthappa just can’t play the next game. I’m sorry but he’s not a middle order batsman or a finisher. You can argue that he is an anchor, but when he actually got the opportunity to anchor the innings against RCB, he failed miserably. The problem is that Robbie has a history of dressing room and ego problems. So having to give up his spot for a youngster might not be something he will agree to.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Steve Smith and the opening conundrum
Now let’s talk about the player who I’d like to see playing in place of Robbie – Yashasvi Jaiswal. This kid is an exceptional talent. He is even better than the likes of Devdutt Padikkal and Priyam Garg who are taking this IPL by storm. It hurts to see them do well, when we have someone who is much more promising, and can do better if given a chance. The thing is, that Yashasvi is an opener. If you can’t make him open, then don’t play him, he isn’t a middle order batsman or a finisher.
Now, as the team stands currently, Steve Smith is opening alongside Jos Buttler. This is just wrong. Smith isn’t an opener! Plus, with the middle order struggling, a dependable senior figure is needed, and that’s exactly what Steve is! But once again, dressing room dynamics will hurt RR. Who’s gonna tell the skipper that he has to demote himself? Will one of the best in the world give up his top spot for an unproven youngster? Someone like a Shane Warne will have to put his foot down in the dressing room, and call the shots.
Riyan Parag’s Time Is Up
Another change that is needed is the exclusion of Riyan Parag. He just hasn’t looked like the Riyan Parag of 2019. He did get chances in all of RR’s games but he failed to impress in all of them. His bowling hasn’t been anything special, and hasn’t yielded a single wicket yet. He is also a bit of a liability in the field, having dropped a few catches. A bowler should come in for him, since RR has enough lower order batting, thanks to their holy trifecta of hard-hitting bowling all-rounders (Tewatia, Curran, Archer). One of Kartik Tyagi or Mayank Markande could come in, based on the conditions. My pick would be the pacer Tyagi, Yashasvi’s U-19 teammate.
The final change has to be of Jaydev Unadkat. Even though I still keep defending him from trolls everywhere on social media, the truth is that I have lost patience with him too. He has the worst bowling average in this IPL. And the one wicket he did take, was of Sunil Narine. If the management doesn’t cut him off right now, he will feel like his pace in the side is guaranteed and he’ll take it for granted. Besides, Ankit Rajpoot bowled well in the games he was given, and seems like a good death bowling option.
Prediction – This is one of those classic mind vs heart situations. Common logic suggests Mumbai all the way, but I’m going to go with my team Rajasthan Royals to win it. They’ve already lost two in a row, and I think they’re going to avoid the hat-trick. Mumbai have won two in a row, so they’re going to avoid the hat-trick too. Hat-tricks are unlikely, people!
My Current Prediction Counter – 13-4 (4 in a row right now)
Points Table Prediction Check – The top 3 in the points table are the exact same as my predicted top 3! Just the no.4 spot team is at no.5. There has to be a medal for this stuff!