Can Royals breach Mumbai's fortress?
Match factsWednesday, May 15, 2013
Start time 2000 (1530 GMT)
Big pictureMumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals have been unbeaten at home this season, and their clash on Wednesday could be a prelude to what may follow in the play-offs. In their respective previous games, it seemed at one stage that their home advantage was about to be undermined, but Shane Watson and Kieron Pollard completely altered the course of the chases with destructive half-centuries that left their opponents scarred. Mumbai have been unshakeable at the Wankhede, Royals have had some trouble on the road.
The No.1 spot in the table with a game in hand could be at stake in Wednesday's clash, and it also likely that these two teams will not have seen the last of each other this IPL season.
Sachin Tendulkar suffered cramps on his left hand and was struggling to grip the bat during the chase against Sunrisers Hyderabad. He retired hurt on 38, and it remains to be seen if he's recovered well to take on Royals.
Form guideMumbai Indians: WWWWL
Rajasthan Royals: WWWWL
In the spotlightDwayne Smith has been consistent with his starts, but has had matches this season where he's struggled in the opening overs, slowing the innings down. It has helped that Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma have scored quickly later in the order, but Smith has played and missed often, got bogged down and hasn't really dominated the start of an innings. His last five innings read 38 off 40, 22 off 24, 47 off 53, 0 off 1, and 21 off 17.
It'll be interesting to see what changes Rahul Dravid makes to Royals' batting order. Sending James Faulkner and Sanju Samson at No.3 and 4 respectively in a big chase against Chennai Super Kings did raise some eyebrows, before Watson and Stuart Binny helped their side cruise home. It could depend on what happens at the toss, but if there's been a team this season that has tweaked around its line-up and XIs, it's the Royals.
Stats and Trivia
- Shane Watson has done pretty well against Lasith Malinga in T20 cricket, taking him for 71 runs off 46 balls while being dismissed by him once. Rahul Dravid, in comparison, has been quite subdued, scoring 24 off 32.
- Simon Taufel is the most experienced on-field T20 umpire, having stood in 104 matches. However, he is tied with Marais Erasmus for the most number of matches as both on-field and TV umpire - 126. Erasmus has stood as on-field umpire in 96 matches, and as TV umpire in 30 games. Taufel's numbers are 104 and 22.
Quotes"Stuart Binny is a really improved cricketer now. The way he has handled the pressure shows he has really matured and it is time that the national selectors also take note of his performance. In T20 format he is a superb finisher and contributes with the ball too. I am really happy for him."
Rahul Dravid on Stuart Binny
Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo