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Mumbai Indians yet again proved their dominance as they managed to take the points quite easily from their arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings. With Mumbai made their way back to the top of the points table, things are only getting bad to worse for MS Dhoni and his team and the legend himself acknowledged that. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, were quick to get back their winning momentum right after their defeat in the IPL 2020 opener against the Kings.  

The four-time champions though have tasted defeat only on two other occasions apart from the competition opener, surprisingly both the losses have been a failure of Mumbai in the super over. The game against Punjab was so unique and at the same time unfortunate that Mumbai Indians could not get the job done in not one but two chances.  

Rajasthan Royals have been struggling too. Despite starting the season strongly, Rajasthan are currently 7th. Their last display against Sunrisers Hyderabad was an embarrassing one as Hyderabad dominated so well that even two quick wickets did not affect their mentality.

Royals have not been batting well recently and they should’ve done better after the game against Chennai. Steve Smith and Jos Buttler, the heroes of the triumph against CSK were poor again, while Jason Holder single-handedly disrupted the RR batting.

The game between Rajasthan and Mumbai will be the 45th game of this season and the game will be played on 25th October at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Will Mumbai maintain the pressure at the top or will Rajasthan fight hard to make it to the top four?

Head to Head

Matches: 24, RR- 11, MI- 12, N/R- 0

Team News

Despite chasing a target of only 115, Mumbai looked phenomenal after Ishan Kishan was promoted as an opener and Quinton de Kock carried his fabulous recent form ahead. Rohit Sharma will probably be back in the side and it may be someone else’s turn to be benched. Sherfane Rutherford may make his debut replacing Kieron Pollard who led the team against Chennai.

Ben Stokes still seems to be struggling in the opener’s role and that issue may be sorted by sending Robin Uthappa upfront. Uthappa though has been barely impressive this season and has struggled in the majority of games he’s been a part of so there are a lot of uncertainties around. On paper, Rajasthan have a pretty deep batting line up until Jofra Archer but the runs are still not reflecting on the scoreboard.

Pitch Conditions

The Abu Dhabi pitch has been producing some exciting games lately, and the same would be expected on a Sunday evening. The sky is expected to be clear and there seem no chances of rain being there too.  

The atmosphere will be pleasant for a game of cricket while the temperature is expected to be on the lower side, around the 30-degree mark. Humidity around 57% is anticipated.

Probable Playing XI

Rajasthan Royals (RR): Ben Stokes, Robin Uthappa, Sanju Samson (WK), Steve Smith (C), Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Kartik Tyagi.

Mumbai Indians (MI): Rohit Sharma (C)/Saurabh Tiwary, Quinton de Kock (WK), Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard/ Sherfane Rutherford, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, James Pattinson/Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Key Battles

Ben Stokes (RR) vs Trent Boult (MI)

Ben Stokes (RR) vs Trent Boult (MI)

Ben Stokes has not had the best of the tournament yet. He was the latest addition to the Rajasthan squad but a new responsibility of opening the innings has not helped his batting much. He is having problems in converting the 30s into big scores but he is showing some improvement. He will be against Trent Boult this weekend and it will be amazing to see how Stokes counters the swinging deliveries.

Stokes completely dominated Boult’s bowling in the World Cup 2019 and had no problem in hitting Boult out of the park even in the finals. However, here the format is different and Boult is currently flowing full with confidence after he dismantled the experienced Chennai batting completely.

The battle will be interesting but it is pretty difficult to predict who will come on top.

Jofra Archer (RR) vs Quinton de Kock (MI)  

Jofra Archer (RR) vs Quinton de Kock (MI)  

Jofra Archer has been one of the most economical bowlers this season and his raw pace has caused problems to a lot of batsmen. Archer has been one of the very few players who have consistently performed as per their standards and have barely let down anyone.

De Kock on the other hand, did not have the best of starts to this edition but the last 2-3 three games have seen him moving his feet well, his shot selection has improved and he has been very patient in deciding which bowler to take on. So far he has been right but it will be a massive statement if the Proteas takes on the English bowler without any problems.

Prediction

Considering the recent form, Mumbai seem the clear favorites. However, there are no doubts about RR’s potential as they have such a deep batting line up and with Archer firing upfront, the game could go anywhere.

Rajasthan will have to execute their plan perfectly as Mumbai Indians have acted as one of the most complete units this season. Players have covered for each other very well and they do not seem to have any weaknesses as things stand.

Rajasthan will have to take their job seriously and only a miraculous performance would make them an ideal contender for the playoffs this season.

Cricwizz predicts Rajasthan to win the game