The twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League is under way, and in the Match number 27 we will watch three-time champions Mumbai Indians locking horns with the inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai outfit, despite being one of the frontrunners to lift the IPL trophy this time around, started in their typical slow fashion, and have brilliantly clawed back into the reckoning.
They possess a squad with enviable depth and variety in both the batting and bowling departments. With experienced T20 specialists in their squad, they have the fuel and mileage to go all the way.
The Royals team, led by Ajinkya Rahane, is one that has traditionally underperformed in the IPL, and they have begun in the exact same vein this time around too.
They boast of a good blend of foreign and Indian talent, but a few of their superstars have been misfiring, and that has adversely impacted their fortunes.
It is a relatively young outfit that has the potential to surprise many like they did in the inaugural season, though they have thoroughly disappointed their fans by losing all but one of the six games they were involved in.
On the other hand, MI have won four out of the six matches thus far, and are shaping up to be genuine title contenders.
Mumbai Indians (Probable XI): Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Alzarri Joseph, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah.
Rajasthan Royals (Probable XI): Ajinkya Rahane (C), Jos Buttler (WK), Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Rahul Tripathi, Riyan Parag, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat.
Jasprit Bumrah vs Jos Buttler
Jasprit Bumrah is arguably one of the best bowlers in the T20 circuit, and with his ability to bowl yorkers and slower deliveries on a consistent basis, he is a mighty force to reckon with.
He has an unorthodox bowling action. Bumrah has 69 IPL wickets at an average of 28.09 with an economy rate of 7.76, and that is commendable, considering that he bowls a lot in the death overs.
Jos Buttler was one of the champion performers in the last edition of the IPL, and has been in excellent nick for England since then.
The wicketkeeper has 1274 runs from 43 IPL matches, at 34.43 with an excellent strike rate of close to 150. The Somerset keeper used to play for the Mumbai Indians and it will be exciting to see if he could replicate his last-season heroics .
Quinton de Kock vs Jofra Archer
Quinton de Kock has been one of the more consistent batsmen in the South African cricket team. The Proteas wicketkeeper has 1084 runs from 40 IPL matches, at 27.79 with a more-than-decent strike rate of 129.98.
He has not truly set the field ablaze, but MI would benefit a lot from his good starts and form.
The last season of the IPL saw Jofra Archer being a revelation for the Royals with some stellar bowling performances. He has 19 wickets from 16 matches, at a strike rate of 19.53 with an impressive economy rate of 7.78.
The Barbadian pacer was a part of the West Indies Under-19 team, and has been rather successful in reining in the batsmen in this season’s IPL.
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Taking into consideration the experience and chemistry of the Mumbai team, coupled with their recent victorious displays and their ability to convert the Wankhede into a fortress, there is only one favourite.
Team CricWizz expects Mumbai Indians to comfortably win its match against the Rajasthan Royals. But the Royals find themselves in a precarious do-or-die situation and this makes them unpredictable.
If they overcome their fatigue and the disheartening loss against CSK yesterday, anything could happen.
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