The twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League is under way, and in the Match number 36 we will be witnessing the inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals clashing with the three-time champions Mumbai Indians at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
The Royals team, led by Ajinkya Rahane, is one that has perennially underachieved in the IPL, and they have begun in the exact fashion this time around too.
Even though they boast of a very enterprising mix of foreign and Indian talent, most of their superstars have been misfiring, and that has adversely impacted their chances.
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 winning just two of the eight games they were involved in.
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.
MI have won six out of the nine matches thus far, and are shaping up to be genuine title contenders.
Rajasthan Royals (Probable XI): Ajinkya Rahane (C), Jos Buttler (WK), Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Rahul Tripathi, Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat.
Mumbai Indians (Probable XI): Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.
Jos Buttler vs Jasprit Bumrah
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 1386 runs from 45 IPL matches, at 35.54 with an excellent strike rate of 150.82. 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 .
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 73 IPL wickets at a strike rate of 21.51 with an economy rate of 7.65, and that is commendable, considering that he bowls a lot in the death overs.
Jofra Archer vs Quinton de Kock
The last season of the IPL saw Jofra Archer being a revelation for the Royals with some stellar bowling performances. He has 25 wickets from 18 matches, with an incredible strike rate of 16.76 and an impressive economy rate of 7.66.
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.
On the other hand, Quinton de Kock has been one of the more consistent batsmen in the IPL. The Proteas wicketkeeper has 1240 runs from 42 IPL matches, at 29.52 with a more-than-decent strike rate of 132.06.
He has not truly set the field ablaze, but MI has benefited a lot from his solid starts.
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Taking into consideration the experience and chemistry of the Mumbai team, coupled with their recent form, there is only one obvious favourite.
Team CricWizz expects Mumbai Indians to comfortably win its match against the Rajasthan Royals. But the Royals find themselves in a do-or-die situation and this makes them unpredictable.
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