Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2014, Mumbai May 24, 2014

Tense clash for last playoff spot

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Match facts

Sunday, May 25, 2014
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

Play 02:34
Isa Guha: Royals need A-game for Wankhede test

Big picture

The last time these two teams met, Rajasthan Royals were third on the points table, one win away from a playoff spot. A week later, they have been overtaken by Kolkata Knight Riders, are still stuck on 14 points and are now gasping to stay ahead in a tight race for the playoffs. On Sunday, they will take on Mumbai Indians again, this time to decide which of the two teams makes it to the top four.

Mumbai and Royals will know what they need. A win, however narrow, will be enough for Royals. Mumbai need to win, too, but for them margins are an equally important factor - they need to be beat Royals by a margin of at least 42 runs batting first, or chase down a target in the region of 130-201 in 87 balls to move up on net run rate.

Royals were the first of three casualties that have helped Mumbai stay alive in the race. They've beaten table-toppers Kings XI Punjab and survived a batting collapse against Delhi Daredevils. More importantly, in all their three wins, they have found stability at the top of the order and that's made a remarkable difference to their batting performances.

Royals, on the other hand, have gone the opposite way. Their main areas of concern are death bowling - they gave away 56 runs against Mumbai in the last five overs and 46 in the last three against Kings XI - and batting. The indifferent form of their retained batsmen - Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny and Sanju Samson - has weakened them in the last two games, and their creative ideas (Rahul Tewatia and Ankit Sharma sent ahead of Brad Hodge and James Faulkner on Friday) with the batting line-up have not worked.

Form guide

Mumbai Indians: WWWLW
Rajasthan Royals: LLWLW

Where they stand

Mumbai Indians: Fifth place with 12 points from 13 games
Rajasthan Royals: Fourth, with 14 points from 13 games

Previous encounter

A dismal batting performance by Royals saw them crash to a 25-run loss against Mumbai in Ahmedabad, in the first encounter between the two sides in IPL 2014. Fifties from Lendl Simmons and Michael Hussey took Mumbai to 178, but Royals slipped behind early on, crumbling to 75 for 7 in the 12th over. The margin of defeat would have been much bigger had it not been for a 69-run stand between Brad Hodge and James Faulkner.

Watch out for

Jasprit Bumrah had a memorable IPL debut last year, when he took 3 for 32 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. This season, he has accounted for George Bailey and AB de Villiers while conceding 7.2 runs per over, but his economy rate in the last five overs has spiked to 9.2. Mumbai will want him to repeat his performance against Daredevils, where he kept hitting the blockhole at the end of the innings.

Known for their unconventional choices, Royals surprised a few when they chose to leave Steven Smith out against Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab. He had played two near-nerveless knocks - in the Super Over against Knight Riders and then against Royal Challengers. His possible presence, perhaps in place of Kevon Cooper, in the side ahead of a crucial game could lend some heft to a stuttering middle order and his athleticism in the field can save a few runs too.

Stats and trivia

  • Mumbai have lost the most number of wickets - 39 - in the last five overs in this IPL. Royals are second on the list with 31
  • With 71 runs in his last two games, Brad Hodge has become only the second cricketer, after Chris Gayle, to score more than 6000 runs in T20s. He has 6056 runs in 220 games

Quotes

"I have felt like I have had it in most of the tournament. But in cricket, sometimes it doesn't go your way."
Michael Hussey on his erratic form in the first part of the tournament

"At the start, I found it a little tough because I was trying too hard, not giving myself time and trying too much at the beginning itself. So, I decided that I should just give myself time and then runs would flow."
Karun Nair on the adjustments he made while moving to open the batting for Royals

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | May 26, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    @Dalyan ... What u say now ? They are through to play off...

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    And imagine people saying why Cooper ahead of Smith but watch his overs in the last few games and he was the best bowler for RR today

  • POSTED BY Cricket.Patron on | May 25, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    RR..Game day and Seriously Cooper ahead of smith?...Smith is the one who can contribute any day in batting, bowling or fielding for sure.. disappointed..

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    gud team selection by mum playng an extra batsmen..and gud toss to win..thy can fancy their chances by looking at the target..also raj under some pressure to score min of 150 to 160..

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    Finally some good news finally Binny is dropped but bad news no smith and I hope they dont experiment with their batting again give hodge faulkner ample time with bat please

  • POSTED BY rajagopalann on | May 25, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    joke to criticise Simmons.his 100 came in 60 balls.Sachin for his 100th 100 gave a price that india lost to bangladesh.But we are happy.For us sachin is bigger than the game

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    For people blaming symonds for scoring his century and wasting balls kindly note if not for the innings he has played for MI they could have never dreamed of even coming to qualifing they were reeling at that stage symonds gave them hope dont blame him when others cant perform

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    MI will win or lose this at the toss for sure... there s no way they will restrict the royals to a margin of 45+ runs...however they can surely chase down a big target within 14 overs... go MI

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    Bruiser I have been for long saying Rahane is not an ideal opener for RR he cant score quick and gets out after eating deliveries.He should pushed down to maybe four or used as a floater to used when quick wickets fall RR dont get early momentum due to him he eats deliveries other batsmen with urge to increase rate hit and get out rahane is best suited at 4 where he can hold one end while other captialize on the start

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    MI need win but RR will be must win........

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | May 26, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    @Dalyan ... What u say now ? They are through to play off...

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    And imagine people saying why Cooper ahead of Smith but watch his overs in the last few games and he was the best bowler for RR today

  • POSTED BY Cricket.Patron on | May 25, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    RR..Game day and Seriously Cooper ahead of smith?...Smith is the one who can contribute any day in batting, bowling or fielding for sure.. disappointed..

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    gud team selection by mum playng an extra batsmen..and gud toss to win..thy can fancy their chances by looking at the target..also raj under some pressure to score min of 150 to 160..

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    Finally some good news finally Binny is dropped but bad news no smith and I hope they dont experiment with their batting again give hodge faulkner ample time with bat please

  • POSTED BY rajagopalann on | May 25, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    joke to criticise Simmons.his 100 came in 60 balls.Sachin for his 100th 100 gave a price that india lost to bangladesh.But we are happy.For us sachin is bigger than the game

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    For people blaming symonds for scoring his century and wasting balls kindly note if not for the innings he has played for MI they could have never dreamed of even coming to qualifing they were reeling at that stage symonds gave them hope dont blame him when others cant perform

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    MI will win or lose this at the toss for sure... there s no way they will restrict the royals to a margin of 45+ runs...however they can surely chase down a big target within 14 overs... go MI

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    Bruiser I have been for long saying Rahane is not an ideal opener for RR he cant score quick and gets out after eating deliveries.He should pushed down to maybe four or used as a floater to used when quick wickets fall RR dont get early momentum due to him he eats deliveries other batsmen with urge to increase rate hit and get out rahane is best suited at 4 where he can hold one end while other captialize on the start

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    MI need win but RR will be must win........

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    I think it is impossible for any team to win when they are in any tergets like mi. yes kkr wsa win. but it not will be regularly.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    mumbai need to win with big margin..i will pray

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    SRH will never progress.. only MI or RR can go..whereas RR has higher chances of qualifying as they only need to win or lose by a small margin whereas MI has a tough task ahead. Let's analyze the same.

    A. Scenario for MI if they bat second: They need to restrict RR to 165 (20 ovs) and then chase down the target in 14.1 ovs.

    B. Scenario for MI if they bat first: They need to score 200 (20 ovs) and restrict RR to 157 in 20 ovs.

    I would give a higher if they chase the target, otherwise RR would qualify easily as MI don't have a bowling attack to skittle any opposition.

    Still, in any case I would be routing for MI. Love MI. Go MI. Cheers...!!!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    mumbai need win ....

  • POSTED BY rizwan1981 on | May 25, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    Facebook User - TENDULKAR more often than not , becomes circumspect when he gets close to a century - SACHIN'S 100 international century resulted in an indian defeat because TENDULKAR played out many dot balls

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    I am totally agree with Bruisers, Rahane's batting is not suitable for 20-20.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 13:27 GMT

    MI.. we are with you .. i mean come on now.. lets show some respect to SR Tendulker .

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    facebook user!!! really it was d last match in which mumbai shud hav got to 200+ if it would be so then mumbai would need to win by jst around 10-15 runs or 7-12 balls to spare so it was the last match which made the difference mn

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 12:59 GMT

    Exactly if it wasnt for Simmons clicking in the top order in the last few matches makes me wonder where MI would have been on the table.Its because of Simmons they getting real big starts. So facebook user even if he wasnt close to a hundred and could not put away the balls would you have said its his fault

  • POSTED BY Selfishkar on | May 25, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    When Tendulkar wastes extra 4-5 Overs just to get his Century and loses the game in process fans are happy, when Lendl Simmions wasted 2-3 overs even when the team wins they are upset.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    hope mi make a good game...bt if mi losses than also I m happy bcoz any team after losing 5 matches. ..none another can make these type of comeback. ..#DilseMI

  • POSTED BY Karan_cricketfan on | May 25, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    @ Facebook user, saying Simmons wasted 2-3 overs for his century is an exaggeration.

    As for this match, rajhastan should progress. Surely the management's realised they have to play hodge and faulkner higher up the order. Also need to drop Binny, he's been doing nothing..

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    seems rr would be intent on helping MI s. just like what they did in their earlier clash, by unsettling the team!.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    Good news for CSK..Will Get to see 3 IPL Matches instead of 2! Keep Calm And Whistle Podu! CSKian for life! B)

  • POSTED BY Bruisers on | May 25, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    RR supporters keep saying Rahane shouldn't have been dropped in their previous game against MI. What did he do in the last game against KXIP? 23 OFF 26 BALLS. He kept eating up deliveries even when the required rate was over 10. A similar innings in the Asia Cup match against Pakistan earlier this year - 23 OFF 50 BALLS! But no one ever puts the blame on his slow batting because he is so-called technically correct.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    There are 2 equations for MI now: 1) Bat first, if scores around 200 runs, then restrict RR under 155 runs. 2) Bowl First, Restrict RR to 165-170 Runs and chase the target in 14.3 Overs.

    Conclusion : Its next to impossible for MI to get into playoffs with these 2 conditions until Rohit or Pollard fires like Yusuf pathan. So The main culprit is MI Mgmt and Lendl Simmions who wasted extra 2-3 Overs just to get his Century. Now its gonna hurt them for sure.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    MI will win definitely!!!! whatever the score ...

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    It's real fun to read the comments from mi supporters. They are not even entered into playoff and talking about beating CSK in eliminator. dream on...

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    RR will win straightly.No question.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    The pathetic messing about by Rohit, Pollard and Simmons to ensure simmons got his 100 in singles at the end of the Kings X1 game could end up costing Mumbai if the net run rate is close. Could have finished at least an over quicker if it wasn't for those 3

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    Whichever team that goes to play off be it RR or MI must win this game big with all three departments clicking well batting bowling and fielding both teams must be a pick their best eleven which will be the squad for the next few games to come be it the eliminator qualifier or final except for minor tinkering like a spinner /pacer as per pitch batting should be settled one.Technically if RR loose by a small margin they would be through but without momentum and confidence of a big win would be a difficult task against csk smith at top dhoni at end is a big factor unless the unit is confident it wont be easy so may the best team win would love to see csk eliminated in eliminator so buck up RR and MI win big beat csk go ahead

  • POSTED BY Kashi0127 on | May 25, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    This will be play offs and final:

    KKR Vs. Punjab (KKR Wins)

    RR Vs. CSK (RR Wins)

    RR Vs Punjab (RR Wins)

    Final KKR Vs RR : May the Best Team WIN!!

  • POSTED BY baghels.a on | May 25, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    Wankhede pitch is showing signs of slowing down and taking spin so Rajat Bhatia must replace out of form Binny, they have to play with two spinners considering the surface any 2 out of Abdullah/Tambe/Tewatia/Ankit Sharma will do .i don't agree that all 4 overseas players should be batters so Smith replaces Hodge and any one out of Richardson/Southee and no Vikramjeet Malik either replace him with Kulkarni/Nayar or Young Huda India u-19 all rounder but that looks highly unlikely......wonder why MI always get to play the last match every IPL season

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    MI or RR team think-tanks might have different views on this but I think unfortunately a lot depends on the toss. MI's chances are great if they bat second and not first. Defending even 157 (actual target if MI scores 200) would be difficult given the batting line up of RR, absence of Slinga n Praveen on wankhede stadium, where 157 is an average first innings score. On the other hand chasing even 200s is possible in 14.3 overs if your top order clicks well.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    Mumbai Indians are the defending champions, this is their last chance. They have polard who can fire like Yousuf Pathan did yesterday. They have the ability to lift the title from now even. Just a couple of games and you are champs.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    Rahane, karun nair, Samson, Watson, Smith, hodge, Faulkner, Bhatia, ankit/tewatia, kulkarni, thambe ... Balance of the team perfect for both batting and bowling...

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    hehe.. check ur records.. RR . After winning d first one they never came in d play offs before last year.. and u call it consistent?... MI is d only team consistent after CSK coz of TENDULKAR

  • POSTED BY xylo on | May 25, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    RR winning will make the playoffs interesting.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    None among DD, RCB, and MI deserve to be in the play offs. KKR, Kings XI and to an extent CSK have played well. (SRH needed a bit more luck and lacked another good Indian batsman to get that 20 runs more in each match.)

    RR have played well (somewhat like CSK) and have been lucky in a few finishes too. Still they have experimented too much or have wasted their rich talent. But RR deserve the 4th place just over SRH. MI with Malinga, Pollard, Rohit, Harbajan, etc have played poorly. So justice would be for MI to win but miss out on qualification a run ;)

    Overall in IPL, CSK and RR are the most consistent. Will be good to see future teams from Arunachal, Goa, Andamans etc. Maybe a 2nd division to make IPL a bit more competitive and sell a better global product from India ;)

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    i think hazlewood shall play today

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    Team RR: (BAT) 1. Karun Nair 2. Shane Watson 3. Ben Cutting 4. Steven Smith 5. Ajinka Rahane 6. J. Faulkner 7. Sanju Samson 8. A. Nair 9. Dhawal Kulkarni 10. Iqbal Abdula 11. P. Tambe

    (Bowl) 1. Iqbal Abdula 2. Ben Cutting 3. D. Kulkarni 4. S. Watson 5. J. Faulkner 6. A Nair 7. P. Tambe 8. S. Smith

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    Any way ,MI is going to wi the contest & you will find them through palyoff. They should have the batting order as Hussy,Simons,rohit ,Anderson,Polard ,Raidu,,Praveen,Harbhajan ,Ozha ,Gopal ,Bumrah. its going to be a gamble to bench Tare but its big match Anderson have that potential to change the game. Hope praveen is fit.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | May 25, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    RR XI: Rahane, Nair Watson, Samson, Smith, Hodge, Faulkner, Bhatia, Tehwatia, Tambe, Malik. To over take RR's NRR someone form MI, either Simmons or Pollard, has to play an innings like yousuf's. It doesn't happen everyday. RR doesn't have to do anything extra ordinary. Play steady and win will be theirs. It will be a cracker of a match. Fun for neutral fans and nervous time for MI and RR fans. Good luck to both teams.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    RR need to rest Binny for rest of season even this could be the last game given RR resources and despite their experiments they have come close to victories hopefully they make it to playoffs.Smithy is essential in the line up if it means either cooper/watto sits out fine with it.If watto is playing he should open with karun sanju next rahane can play at 4 smithy at 5 hodge at 6 jimmy at 7 then bhatia and other indian players.Rahane scores at snails pace and while chasing huge targets he is at sea better push him down where he can hold one end while others hit big and consolidate RR need to make the most out of powerful some fearless batting by karun and watto could help so push rahane down play smith keep binny out you will win games

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    drop Binny. mi should play same team

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    Well the playoff system is very fair .The top two teams have performed much better than other teams throughout the season .Last year it was MI and CSK .This year it is KXIP and KKR .Other teans like RR CSK have made blunders so they did not deserve the top two spots .It is completely fair .Would like MI to make it to playoffs today as its very tough to get your campaign back on track after losing 5 first up .But still may the better team go forward.

  • POSTED BY Antony_Lucas on | May 25, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    It is about time encounters between these two teams involved a team playing in an away uniform. The similarity of the uniforms is diabolical and frankly a shade embarrasing. predicting a MI win but a RR advancement

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    in the last ipl final, mi indians defeated rr, now its the time to turn the table and send mi home with out reaching in to the next phase. rr are a better bunch which is going to shake up mi today. best of luck

  • POSTED BY looloogun on | May 25, 2014, 5:17 GMT

    the playoff format has an added advantage to no2 side than a no1 side ,there is no need of a match between no1 and no2 side , no1 should go to the final directly , no2 will play the winner of (no 3 vs no 4) this winner should play the finals with no1 .this way the no1 goes directly , no2 plays one game before finals and no3 ,no4 plays 2 games to reach finals .last year mumbai was lucky because they lost to csk in the semifinal but came back for a rematch again and won the cup.so the no1 and no2 had the same advantage that year.

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | May 25, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    I am a die hard RR supporter. But if Royals find themselves out of the playoffs, they have themselves to blame. In their match with Mumbai they made 4 changes and rested key players and bought a loss. Now they are in danger of not qualifying for playoffs and have to bring their best team. They should have brought their best team the last time they met mumbai and should have gone for the win. They could do all the experiments after qualifying. Pretty much gutted I am seeing RR in this situation.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    RR shouldnt really worry about the equation and play to win. If they somehow fail to do so it will be closer I would also like to push Samson up the order, he can play well in power play

    Rahane Samson/Watson Nair Watson/Samson Smith Faulkner Cooper Bhatia Tewatia Thambe Kulkarni

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 25, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    mumbai will win and go to next round...i can bet on it of 100 lakhs

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | May 25, 2014, 2:36 GMT

    Why are Hodge and Faulkner batting at 8 and 9? They should be batting 5 and 6 I would think, given how well they are going.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    A must win game for us too Royals.....we need to give our best this time...I know we have got everything that is required to win this game. All we need is a correct batting order. If 3 wickets have fallen under 10 overs, we can send someone like smith to maintain the momentum and then send hodge in at no. 5 or 6 and later faulkner to finish the innings.

    Also I wish to see binny and cooper on the bench and some one like Ankit sharma/abhishek nayar and steve smith replacing them respectively.

    Come on even if we are lossing, we are not that bad to give away the match by 42 runs or score so less that it gets chased down in 14.3 overs. I just wish the best batting order is decided as per the situation unlike the last 2 matches.

    Best Royals XI for todays game - Rahane, Nair, Watson, Sanju, Hodge, Smith, Sharma/Nayar, Faulkner, Bhatia Kulkarni, Tambe

    Go Royals, we want to see u back in your original form....HALLA BOL!!!

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 2:04 GMT

    I am not too sure about the numbers mentioned here. The difference between the two team's NRR is 0.32 I guess? So of mumbai improves it by 0.16 and RR goes down by 0.16, it should be good enough. Going by that, Mumbai would need to beat RR by 15-16 runs batting first or get the target around 18 overs batting second...I may be wrong in my calculation though, but I am not that great in maths, so I could be wrong :P

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 0:41 GMT

    " A win, however narrow, will be enough for Royals."

    The Royals don't need a win. Even a narrow loss will be enough (by less than 42 runs if they bat second).

  • POSTED BY Aragorn_Strider on | May 24, 2014, 22:58 GMT

    They have to bring smith n rajat back; leave copper n malik. Watson shld open with karun. depending on the start, smith, hodge n sanju shld play at 3, 4, 5. rahane shld bat at 6 because karun was damn good against MI last time.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | May 24, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    I hope RR management do not make similar atrocious decisions as SRH did in the XI selection today. RR cannot afford to drop Smith. They did in the last 2 matches & lost both. Nair, Rahane, Samson, Watson & Smith are the 5 bats who have o play in the XI. Hodge & Faulkner should be the other 2 foreign players. Last 4 will be the bowlers. Hopefully Binny will not make the XI. Watson has to promote both Hodge & Faulkner to #'s 3 & 5. They sowed themselves to be the best 2 hitters of the ball. That is one way of putting up a big total on the board. If they fail, RR has batting till #7. With MI determined to win, it will be crucial to put at least 200 on the board to make it impossible for MI to win in a decisive manner. MI have Simmons, pollard & Rahane to power them. But MI bowling is weak with Harbhajan their leading bowler. With such weak bowling RR should capitalize with a 200 total. It looks like it will be the most exciting match of the IPL 7 to date with both in a Must win situation!

  • POSTED BY on | May 24, 2014, 21:22 GMT

    After watching KRR and SRH match now its almost uncertain to tell who is going to take the number 4 spot. Momentam tells MI could break the brick and take the 4th spot.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | May 24, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    Last game of league stage and the deciding one. It would be tough task for MI but toss will play crucial role. Team chasing would know exact figure. MI have to play calculated strokes. Where as RR has Fauk Nah to counter at the end. But the crowd and pitch will support MI. MI needs to repeat history. It would be harsh to leave De Lange to play Cory to counter leg spinner. Do not play Ojha for sure. After KKR, MI has put all their effort to come back hard. They are playing well as a team just like KKR showed in last 7 games. Hope we can see MI playing KKR in finals. I believe KKR is good enough to win at home and MI is good enough to beat out of form CSK and put mighty KXIP calm. Let's hope to qualify to play off first. All the best MI.#DilSeMI

  • POSTED BY chad_reid on | May 24, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    So the Royals think tank will send james and brad at 8 and 9 and pick cooper ahead of smith, I wonder if there stubbornness will cost RR and their fans again and get rid of rahane scores runs with a mediocre strike rate when the opposition gets a good score he looks clueless chasing, watson should open, with smith coming in first wicket followed by hodge and faulkner also binny is a liability choose another good indian batsman in for him if they make the same mistakes again i hope they get thrashed

  • POSTED BY on | May 24, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    I have been saying for long time now kindly drop Binny he is useless and woefully out of form dont carry that liability in the team.For the final game either watto opens or takes the bench that would be the best thing to do.If watto cant open i'd say let him sit in bench and smith play and captain the game.Rahane was a good player now is eating up deliveries.Better to push him one down.Two things must happen for sure in tomorrow's game one smith hodge faulker all three must play second and most important Binny should be dropped.Ideally the 4th foreigner spot should be toss between watto/cooper/cutting if pitch has pace and bounce cutting else cooper for his slow balls and cutters.Rahul and Upton please no more experiments its a must win game for godsake

  • POSTED BY katrinaxxx on | May 24, 2014, 19:11 GMT

    royals need to be very careful while deciding their 11. 1)i think stuart binny should be rested given the fact he is under extreme pressure and is burdened by the expectation of team management given his capability to score.i think playing him again and again will only lower his confidence further.let them give some time to him so that he may rethink over his batting.2)consider rajat bhatia in place of binny,he has ability to score runs and everyone knows his bowling.3)two reasons to select smith ahead of cooper,first if bhatia is selected no need for cooper both are medium pacers with the same effect.second,smith provides the athleticism while fielding and batting both.the way he improvises his shot can turn any match.hodge strictly relies on power and orthodoxy, while smith may change his style to unconventional hitting whenever needed.

  • POSTED BY TheZeus on | May 24, 2014, 19:10 GMT

    I'm still trying to figure out why Mumbai did not play Simmonds in earlier games...I suspect they will regret that decision. His has scored 315 runs now in only 6 games...another thing I am sure they are regretting now is letting go of Dwayne Smith....unbelievable. I am very disappointed with their decision making this IPL

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  • POSTED BY TheZeus on | May 24, 2014, 19:10 GMT

    I'm still trying to figure out why Mumbai did not play Simmonds in earlier games...I suspect they will regret that decision. His has scored 315 runs now in only 6 games...another thing I am sure they are regretting now is letting go of Dwayne Smith....unbelievable. I am very disappointed with their decision making this IPL

  • POSTED BY katrinaxxx on | May 24, 2014, 19:11 GMT

    royals need to be very careful while deciding their 11. 1)i think stuart binny should be rested given the fact he is under extreme pressure and is burdened by the expectation of team management given his capability to score.i think playing him again and again will only lower his confidence further.let them give some time to him so that he may rethink over his batting.2)consider rajat bhatia in place of binny,he has ability to score runs and everyone knows his bowling.3)two reasons to select smith ahead of cooper,first if bhatia is selected no need for cooper both are medium pacers with the same effect.second,smith provides the athleticism while fielding and batting both.the way he improvises his shot can turn any match.hodge strictly relies on power and orthodoxy, while smith may change his style to unconventional hitting whenever needed.

  • POSTED BY on | May 24, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    I have been saying for long time now kindly drop Binny he is useless and woefully out of form dont carry that liability in the team.For the final game either watto opens or takes the bench that would be the best thing to do.If watto cant open i'd say let him sit in bench and smith play and captain the game.Rahane was a good player now is eating up deliveries.Better to push him one down.Two things must happen for sure in tomorrow's game one smith hodge faulker all three must play second and most important Binny should be dropped.Ideally the 4th foreigner spot should be toss between watto/cooper/cutting if pitch has pace and bounce cutting else cooper for his slow balls and cutters.Rahul and Upton please no more experiments its a must win game for godsake

  • POSTED BY chad_reid on | May 24, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    So the Royals think tank will send james and brad at 8 and 9 and pick cooper ahead of smith, I wonder if there stubbornness will cost RR and their fans again and get rid of rahane scores runs with a mediocre strike rate when the opposition gets a good score he looks clueless chasing, watson should open, with smith coming in first wicket followed by hodge and faulkner also binny is a liability choose another good indian batsman in for him if they make the same mistakes again i hope they get thrashed

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | May 24, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    Last game of league stage and the deciding one. It would be tough task for MI but toss will play crucial role. Team chasing would know exact figure. MI have to play calculated strokes. Where as RR has Fauk Nah to counter at the end. But the crowd and pitch will support MI. MI needs to repeat history. It would be harsh to leave De Lange to play Cory to counter leg spinner. Do not play Ojha for sure. After KKR, MI has put all their effort to come back hard. They are playing well as a team just like KKR showed in last 7 games. Hope we can see MI playing KKR in finals. I believe KKR is good enough to win at home and MI is good enough to beat out of form CSK and put mighty KXIP calm. Let's hope to qualify to play off first. All the best MI.#DilSeMI

  • POSTED BY on | May 24, 2014, 21:22 GMT

    After watching KRR and SRH match now its almost uncertain to tell who is going to take the number 4 spot. Momentam tells MI could break the brick and take the 4th spot.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | May 24, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    I hope RR management do not make similar atrocious decisions as SRH did in the XI selection today. RR cannot afford to drop Smith. They did in the last 2 matches & lost both. Nair, Rahane, Samson, Watson & Smith are the 5 bats who have o play in the XI. Hodge & Faulkner should be the other 2 foreign players. Last 4 will be the bowlers. Hopefully Binny will not make the XI. Watson has to promote both Hodge & Faulkner to #'s 3 & 5. They sowed themselves to be the best 2 hitters of the ball. That is one way of putting up a big total on the board. If they fail, RR has batting till #7. With MI determined to win, it will be crucial to put at least 200 on the board to make it impossible for MI to win in a decisive manner. MI have Simmons, pollard & Rahane to power them. But MI bowling is weak with Harbhajan their leading bowler. With such weak bowling RR should capitalize with a 200 total. It looks like it will be the most exciting match of the IPL 7 to date with both in a Must win situation!

  • POSTED BY Aragorn_Strider on | May 24, 2014, 22:58 GMT

    They have to bring smith n rajat back; leave copper n malik. Watson shld open with karun. depending on the start, smith, hodge n sanju shld play at 3, 4, 5. rahane shld bat at 6 because karun was damn good against MI last time.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 0:41 GMT

    " A win, however narrow, will be enough for Royals."

    The Royals don't need a win. Even a narrow loss will be enough (by less than 42 runs if they bat second).

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 2:04 GMT

    I am not too sure about the numbers mentioned here. The difference between the two team's NRR is 0.32 I guess? So of mumbai improves it by 0.16 and RR goes down by 0.16, it should be good enough. Going by that, Mumbai would need to beat RR by 15-16 runs batting first or get the target around 18 overs batting second...I may be wrong in my calculation though, but I am not that great in maths, so I could be wrong :P