Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2013, Jaipur April 16, 2013

In-form batsmen lead Mumbai's charge against Royals

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Match facts

April 17, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

Except for their opening match, which they lost narrowly, Mumbai Indians have been living up to their reputation of a big-ticket team. Their opening combination still hasn't fired but then, these are men who have more than 60,000 international runs between them. If the match against Pune Warriors is any indication, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting are finding their groove in the IPL.

To add to Rajasthan Royals' worries, Mumbai have perhaps the most formidable middle-order. Between them, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard have scored 479 runs in the team's four matches and the Royals will have to dismiss them early to dominate the match. In the bowling department, with the hard pitch at Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Mumbai might ponder picking Munaf Patel or Jasprit Bumrah ahead of Pragyan Ojha, adding more power to the pace attack of Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson.

Royals have always punched above their weight and their record against Mumbai is not as one-sided as many would presume. Of the nine matches the teams have played, Royals have won four times. Their bowling won them the match against Kings XI Punjab and the onus on restricting Mumbai's powerhouse batting would again fall on Sreesanth, Siddharth Trivedi, James Faulkner and Kevon Cooper. Their batting in the last two matches - with a habit of losing wickets in clusters - is an area of concern. They made heavy weather of what should have been a straightforward chase against Kings XI and, although they huffed to a six-wicket win, against Mumbai's better bowling, that kind of batting would mean handing the match to Mumbai on a platter.

There's another undercurrent to this match - Sreesanth and Harbhajan will play against each other for the first time since the former revived the 'slapgate' episode on Twitter last week.

Players to watch

James Faulkner was the third-highest wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield and did well with the bat, too. Watching him bowl to Ponting will be interesting given that the two play for Tasmania. He's batted at No.6 before and can be a good lower-order batsman for Royals.

On a wicket that's been friendly to pace bowlers, Lasith Malinga will be a handful for the Royals' batsmen. He's already on top of the bowling charts in the IPL with 85 wickets, but he doesn't have a great record against Royals, with seven wickets from seven matches at an average of 25.71. This match is a chance to change that statistic.

Stats and Trivia

  • Rohit Sharma has scored the most runs for Mumbai against Royals. In 10 matches, he has scored 302 runs at an average of 33.55.
  • Royals' wicketkeepers Sanju Samson and Dishant Yagnik are ranked second behind MS Dhoni in the list of wicketkeepers with the most dismissals in an innings in this season of the tournament.
  • Royals have won 21 of their 31 home matches, a victory percentage of 67%. In the history of the IPL, that's second only to Chennai Super Kings' home record of 25 wins from 38 matches.

Quotes

"We have been banking on our medium pacers... We hope they give us early break throughs and we are able to capitalise on it."
Rajasthan Royals' wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik on the importance of their bowlers

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gun79 on April 17, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    This match is more like a grand final based on the first half results. Special about this season is its all for the seam bowlers. These 2 teams equipped with the best and will see who got the best out of the best. All the best rajestan.. your the best :)

  • Yasin123Patel on April 17, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    I like the pitch of jaipur. It is the best in this IPL. It has something for bowler and something for quality batsman too. There is no margine for error for batsman on this pitch unlike other pitches. Batsmen have to sure on their shot selection otherwise their wicket 'll under threat. This pitch is the best in india till date. Congrates to groundsman too.

  • dummy4fb on April 17, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    Best Wishes MI...you guys wil win...

  • dummy4fb on April 17, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Not that it matters but Chennai's 25 wins from 38 matches is 65.78 % which is lower than the Royals home wins percentage of 67.74 (21 from 31) :)

  • dummy4fb on April 17, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    i think shah should play this match. Sachin baby can play instead of Binny

  • 504429641 on April 17, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    The very thought of Hodge and Shah should make opposition fear (they both feature in top 10 run getters in all T20). But they both cannot play together due to the 4 foreign players rule. If Watson continues to only bat and don't bowl, then may be watson can be dropped to include Hodge and Shah both.

  • dummy4fb on April 17, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    The good thing for Mumbai, is that when the law of averages catches up with, karthik and rohit sharma. It will also catch up with Sachin and Ponting. thus, if the No.3 & 4, dont perform. Then, definitely No.1 & 2 will perform. :)

  • Rohit_06 on April 17, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    Ponting sachin karthik rohit pollard rayadu malinga johnson munaf harbhajan

  • dummy4fb on April 17, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    I love RR team, they are up for MI. Surely this will not be one sided game. Go rajasthan go,we all with you.

  • Apocalypse_EX on April 17, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    @Pramod MJ and @Koustubh Sharma they meant Chennai have the most wins at home. Rajasthan have the best win percentage though.