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Will Royals extend their run away from home?

ESPNcricinfo previews the IPL game between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai

Match facts

Wednesday, April 11, Mumbai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

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.

2011 head-to-head

Royals beat Mumbai Indians in both meetings last season, bettering their seven-wicket win at home with a ten-wicket thrashing away.

Stats and trivia

  • Not only is Lasith Malinga the leading wicket-taker in the IPL, he also has the third-best economy-rate, 6.28
  • Royals have a win-loss ratio of 2.83 at home, by far the best for IPL teams.
  • Quotes

    "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 ESPNcricinfo