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The Preview by Abhishek Purohit
April 10, 2012
Match factsWednesday, April 11, Mumbai
IPL 2012 has produced largely one-sided games in its first week, with Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers contriving to produce a close finish on Monday in Visakhapatnam. When as many as 18 runs are needed off the final over, though, the fielding side usually ends up victorious, but the pressure got to the bowler Daniel Christian instead of the batsman Rohit Sharma.
Rohit's last-ball six masked the fact that Mumbai Indians almost messed up a modest chase of 139 after failing to chase 130 earlier against Pune Warriors India. Sachin Tendulkar's absence is clearly being felt at the top of the order. Mumbai Indians have tried Ambati Rayudu and T Suman to partner Richard Levi upfront but both combinations haven't clicked. Their strong bowling attack, though, has delivered in all three games so far.
It will be interesting to see what kind of surface greets Rajasthan Royals tomorrow. If the Wankhede pitch assists spin as much as it did during the game against Warriors, Royals' attack consisting of medium-pacers and spinners will be difficult to get away. Royals have won both their games comfortably so far. Their captain Rahul Dravid has been at pains to point out that though the victories have come at home in Jaipur, they haven't been achieved on the slow and low surfaces that became synonymous with the city during the first four seasons of the IPL. How will Royals fare in their first away match of the season?
Players to watch
The last time Royals played against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium, Ajinkya Rahane did not get to bat in a ten-wicket win for his side. An orthodox batsman, he missed out on a Twenty20 century by two runs against Kings XI Punjab and was run out for a duck against Kolkata Knight Riders. He will be up against his former franchise tomorrow at his home ground.
Harbhajan Singh may have led Mumbai Indians to the Champions League Twenty20 title, but his ugly argument with umpire Johan Cloete during the game against Chargers was unbecoming of a captain. Instead of trying to control the outbursts of the bowler Munaf Patel, Harbhajan went a step ahead and had a prolonged argument with Cloete, almost forcing the official to refer the appeal against Kumar Sangakkara to the third umpire. Harbhajan got away with just a warning and a reprimand but his behaviour should be under scrutiny tomorrow.
Stats and trivia
"It's obviously been quite hectic, going up and down and playing our fourth game in eight days. But the guys are being taken care of by the support staff."
Richard Levi is getting used to the travel schedules of the IPL
"Rahul is a bit calmer than Warnie, [who] is a bit more out there and tries probably a lot more things on the field. But I think Rahul is good for young players. He is nice and calm on the field and that rubs off on all the other guys."
Johan Botha on the Royals captain and his predecessor
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Abhishek Purohit
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough