MI vs RR preview: Rajasthan aim to secure playoff spot, Mumbai for pride

Written by Express news service | Ahmedabad | Updated: May 19 2014, 11:36am hrs
A floundering Mumbai Indian Indians, in desperate need of a turnaround, will face the Rajasthan Royals, who have a strong chance to march towards locking up a play-off spot with 14 points from 11 games. The Mumbai Indians are almost out of the competition, with only six points from 10 games.

The defending champions, Mumbai, did not win a single game in the UAE leg of the tournament. Two out of their three victories have come at home and all too often, the Mumbai side has been let down by some poor decision making.

Last-ditch attempt

With this almost being a last-ditch attempt for Mumbai, it will be interesting to see if Mumbai utilise Kieron Pollard up the order. The imposing West Indian all-rounder has scored 219 runs from 10 matches at 43.80 and with a healthy strike-rate of 131.92 but has been hamstrung by the fact that he simply does not get enough balls to face, coming in at No.5 or even lower. While he has often bailed Mumbai out of trouble, his cameos have looked like coming a little too late for his team. Similarly, captain, Rohit Sharma has refused to move up the order for a prolonged period. Sharma, Mumbais second-best batsman this season, prefers to bat at number four or even five, even as his team repeatedly fails to get off to fast starts. Sharma has 266 runs at 33.25 but has often been seen to be not at his best, having to hunker down and rebuild the innings.

The Royals have had no such problems. Ajinkya Rahane, with 315 runs from 11 matches has been consistent. Sanju Samson, Shane Watson and Karun Nair have all scored more than 200 runs apiece. This has ensured that the score moves along at a fair clip, never getting bogged down.

Big boots to fill

In bowling, with Lasith Malinga not being available for selection, Mumbai have been dealt a severe blow. Malinga, with 16 wickets in 10 matches at 15.81, has been the fulcrum of the bowling unit. Harbhajan Singh has been another bright spot for Mumbai. Though the off-spinner has not picked up a lot of wickets, eight in 10 matches, his economy rate of 6.23 has been outstanding.

For RR, James Faulkner, who was the highest wicket-taker in the previous edition, has again shown his worth. The 24-year-olds batting, his ability to hit the ball long, has also served his side quite well.

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