IPL: Confident Royals start as favourites against Mumbai

Mumbai Indians will have the returning Suryakumar Yadav’s flamboyance in the middle-order as they look to bounce back against a confident Rajasthan Royals unit in the IPL at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.

The two teams head into the game at the DY Patil Stadium on the back of contrasting starts to IPL 2022.

While five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians suffered a four-wicket defeat against Delhi Capitals in their lung-opener despite posting 177, Rajasthan mauled Sunrisers Hyderabad by 61 runs in a dominant show.

So far in this IPL, there has been a trend of winning the toss and bowling first and it is likely to continue.

Mumbai have two of the best openers in captain Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan, who blazed his way to an unbeaten 81 against Delhi, justifying his heavy price tag.

With a wide range of shots at their disposal, the duo can give the hosts a strong start, which can prove to be vital in the scheme of things.

Suryakumar, who has joined the team after his recovery at the National Cricket Academy, will likely bat at No 3 and has the ability to play match-winning knocks at any positions. He will be keen to get going quickly and justify the faith shown in him by the owners.

Mumbai’s middle-order crumbled in the game against Delhi and one among Anmolpreet Singh, Tilak Verma and Tim David would have to make way for Suryakumar.

Veteran all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who has a knack of hitting huge sixes, also perished cheaply against Delhi and he would be eager to get going against Royals.

More than their batters, the Mumbai bowlers are the ones who would need to step up as they were unable to defend 177, and considering Rajasthan’s power-packed line-up, they would need to hit the right lengths.

The team would bank on pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah to deliver, but he also needs support from the others like of Basil Thampi and Daniel Sams.

The role of Murugan Ashwin, who picked up two wickets on his Mumbai debut, too would be crucial as he can effect breakthroughs and also put the brakes on the scoring rate.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan ticked almost all the boxes in their game against Sunrisers Hyderabad and were ahead in both bowling and batting, even as fielding remains a cause for concern, having dropped catches.

The onus will be again on skipper Sanju Samson to lead from the front after he made a scintillating 55 in his team’s opening match.

The Royals openers — Yashashvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler — got starts against Sunrisers but they will need to convert them into substantial scores.

The other batters including Devdutt Padikkal and Shimron Hetmyer also clicked and they would hope to repeat the show.

The Rajasthan bowlers, led by Prasidh Krishna, were on target against Sunrisers. They have a lethal attack in pacer Trent Boult and spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile is injured and he could make way for someone like Navdeep Saini in the playing XI.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Anmolpreet Singh, Rahul Buddhi, Ramandeep Singh, SuryakumarYadav, Tilak Verma, Tim David, Arjun Tendulkar, Basil Thampi, Hrithik Shokeen, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer, Mayank Markande, Murugan Ashwin, Riley Meredith, Tymal Mills, Arshad Khan, Daniel Sams, Dewald Brevis, Fabian Allen, Kieron Pollard, Sanjay Yadav, Aryan Juyal and Ishan Kishan.

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Riyan Parag, Shubham Garwal, Dhruv Jurel, Kuldip Yadav, Kuldeep Sen, Tejas Baroka, Anunay Singh, KC Kariappa, Jos Buttler, Rassie Van der Dussen, Nathan Coulter Nile, Jimmy Neesham, Daryl Mitchell, Karun Nair, Obed McCoy, Navdeep Saini, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Shimron Hetmyer, Devdutt Padikkal, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Match starts at 3.30pm IST.

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