Mumbai Indians look to overcome middle-order woes, return to winning ways over Rajasthan Royals

Defending champions Mumbai Indians will try to tackle their middle-order woes and re-track their campaign when they face unstable Rajasthan Royals in the IPL game on Thursday.

MI is coming into the match after back-to-back defeats, the last being a nine-wicket defeat to Punjab Kings in Chennai and the need to start a new Delhi leg.

Rajasthan, led by Sanju Samson, have lost three times so far in the tournament and will be looking for a six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the previous match.

Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma (201) started but did not play big and Mumbaikar was itching to get one as his starting partner Quinton de Kock (47).

However, Suryakumar Yadav (154), Ishant Kishan (73), Hardik Pandya (36), Krunal Pandya (29) and Kiran Pollard (65) are yet to agree in the Mumbai middle order.

Middle-order can present any good attack on any given day and Sharma hopes to get their batting click when Feroze Shah turns to Kotla ground on Thursday.

In the bowling department, the pace duo of Trent Boult (6 wickets) and Jaspreet Bumra (4 wickets) were particularly exceptional at the time of death.

Leg-spinners Rahul Chahar (9 wickets) and Krunal (3 wickets) also impressed and will have to play their roles perfectly again.

Pollard was used as the fifth or sixth bowler, while Hardick played only as a batsman.

Mumbai, however, could replace Jayant Yadav with Adam Milne.

On the other hand, there are a lot of issues to think about in Rajasthan, especially in the absence of key foreign players like Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone and Andrew Tye.

RR still has a settled opening combination. They tried Manan Vohra (42) and the successful Jaiswal (22) on top but both failed to change their start.

Englishman Jose Butler will need to score big to congratulate his captain Sanju Samson, who is the team’s top scorer (187).

And the likes of Shivam Dubey, David Miller and Ryan Parag have to support the top-order by providing much needed support.

All-rounder Chris Morris (9 wickets and 48 runs) exploded hot and cold and was again under pressure to deliver his high price.

Left-arm pacer Chetan Zakaria (7 wickets) was out, while veterans Jayadev Unadkat (4 wickets) and Mustafizur Rahman (4 wickets) were good. However, the three left-arm pacers, along with Morris, must be consistent.

Leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia took just one wicket in five games, while Shreyas Gopal, another leg, was the lowest wicket-taker in the two games he played.

Tewatia’s role will be crucial if the Royals are to aim to have an MI batting line-up in view of Amit Mishra’s performance for Delhi.

It’s a Thursday afternoon game so it’s not a snow factor.

Teams (from): Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Adam Milne, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Arjun Tendulkar, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, James Neesham, Jaspreet Bumra, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Krunal Pandya, Marco Jansen, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Quinton de Kock (WK), Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Yudhveer Singh.

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c & wk), Jose Butler (wk), Yashaswi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra, Anuj Rawat, Ryan Parag, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomrer, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Jayadev Unadkat, Karthik Shivam Dubey, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rehman, Chetan Zakaria, KC Kariyappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Akash Singh.

The match starts at 3.30pm.


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