When the Rajasthan Royals faced off confidently in their last league match in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday, the Mumbai Indians Mega Stars were in a last ditch effort to track back their derailed Indian Premier League campaign.
The five-time champions have scored a hat-trick, the first in the tournament’s 14 – year history, but their batsmen’s poor performance has put the team down. The wrinkles on Rohit Sharma’s forehead and the rage on his face tell a story never heard before in MI Contingent.
Against this backdrop, they now face Rajasthan Royals, who surprised the Chennai Super Kings with two Mumbai men’s brilliant batting performances – the successful Jaiswal and Shivam Dubey.
The equation is simple for both teams.
They need to win both their matches as well as the big ones so that their poor net run-rates are taken care of.
The Royals currently have a net run rate of -0.337 and are seventh at -0.453, after a poor batting performance with MI, Delhi Capitals.
The loser will be eliminated from the tournament on Tuesday, while KKR is already +0.294 positive NRR with 14 points.
So even if Mumbai beat Rajasthan and Sunrisers beat Hyderabad by 14 points in the final, there is no guarantee that they will win.
Although KKR won a crucial game against SRH and lost to the Royals on the final day of the league stage, Morgan and his men want to limit the losses.
Therefore, Rohit (341), Suryakumar Yadav (222), Quinton de Kock (297) and Kieran Pollard (232) need to bring their ‘A’ game forward.
Hardik Pandya found some form on his way. The Sharjah pitch showed signs of settling during the Punjab Kings vs RCB game, which delights MI’s stroke players.
The Royals bowling attack, with Mustafizur Rahman being the most experienced signing overseas, is a bit thin on experience.
It remains to be seen how Chetan Zakaria, Mustafizur and the rest of the bowlers will stop the heavy artillery fire from the Mumbai ranks.
Similarly, along with Jaspreet Bumra, Trent Boult and Rahul Chahar, Deepak Chahar and Dwayne Bravo will be sacked against Jaiswal and Evin Lewis, the opening pair who literally repelled the Chennai attack.
Rajasthan Royals team: Sanju Samson (capt), Liam Livingstone, Evin Lewis, David Miller, Chris Morris, Oshane Thomas, Mustafizur Rahman, Tabriz Shamsi, Glenn Phillips, Chetan Zakaria, Ryan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Anushka Singh, Aakash, Shivam Dubey, Shreyas Gopal, Karthik Tyagi, Mayank Markande, Jayadev Unadkat, Kuldeep Yadav, Mahipal Lomrer.
Mumbai Indians Squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Ishant Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Anukul Roy, Simarjeet Singh, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, James Neesham, Jayant Yadav, Kiro Johnson, Yudhveer Singh, Adam Milne, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaspreet Bumra, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult.