IPL 2021 preview: Will Mumbai Indians overcome middle-order issues to outlast lacklustre Rajasthan Royals?
The continuing edition of the Indian Premier League is the 14th season of the profitable Twenty20 league. While Mumbai Indians is the record five-time defending champion, Rajasthan Royals, too, is a former champion but hasn't clicked as a title contender since 2008.
The 2021 Indian Premier League shows no signs of slowing down, as we are two weeks deep into the tournament. Meanwhile, defending champion Mumbai Indians would lock horns against former champion Rajasthan Royals in Match 24 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Thursday.
While MI is once again a favourite to clinch the title, RR has failed to click as a proper title contender since its inaugural title win in 2008. Nevertheless, all it takes is one good game to change things in the T20 format, as we present the preview of this unpredictable clash.
Both the sides have played five games each and are on equal terms, having won a couple and lost three. Despite being locked on the same points, MI is placed fourth in the points table, owing to a better net run-rate than RR, which sits in the seventh spot.
Considering MI's team, it is slightly bowling-heavy. Also, with more capped recruits in the bowling, MI's bowling has been its strength, as has been the case in the past few games, as even a low total has become dependable for the side. Therefore, the combination of pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult would be the most deadly.
As for RR, it is bowling-heavy as well, while the lack of enough promising batsmen is a matter of concern for the side. Also, with just five capped talents in each department, RR has an acute shortage of enough players. Nonetheless, the likes of wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and skipper Sanju Samson are sure to strengthen the batting as much as they can.
MI is absolutely safe when it comes to injury concerns. However, RR has acute shortages, with all-rounder Ben Stokes and pacer Jofra Archer being ruled out with injuries. Furthermore, Liam Livingstone and pacer Andrew Tye have pulled out, citing COVID concerns.
In the 25 head-on clashes between the two, both have won 12 apiece. Of the 23 IPL games, both have won 11 each. As for the 21 matches in India, MI leads 11-10, while MI won the only match between the two in Delhi.
Weather and pitch report
As for Delhi's weather, it would be hot as usual at this time of the year, with a searing temperature of 41 degrees and low humidity of 15%. The track would be sluggish, while dew might play a factor and the team winning the toss could opt to bowl first.
MI: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah.
RR: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Shivam Dube, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakariya and Mustafizur Rahman.
Batsmen: Rohit, Suryakumar, Parag- Rohit is definite to give the right start, while can get going at number three, followed by Parag anywhere in the middle.
Wicketkeepers: Buttler, Samson (VC)- Buttler has been in an explosive form and is a must-have, while Samson has been prolific as well, and his reliability makes him the deputy skipper.
All-rounders: Morris, Dube- Morris is sure to deliver with the ball and chip in with the bat if needed, while his consistency makes him the skipper. Meanwhile, Dube is going to be effective with his pace.
Bowlers: Unadkat, Boult, Chahar, Sakariya- Unadkat and Boult's consistency with their pace bowling makes them no-brainers here. While Sakariya has been effective with his pace, of late, Chahar has been nailing it with his spins.
Date and day: April 29, 2021 (Thursday)
Venue: Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi
Time: 3.30 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar
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