Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals
Wednesday 28 April 15.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Mumbai need to improve
Mumbai Indians have not justified the pre-tournament favourites tag. Nor have they looked like the outfit that has dominated for the last five years. It’s three defeats from five to push Mumbai out to 5.14/1 in the winner market. The loss to Punjab Kings was particularly worrying.
Mumbai might argue that conditions in Chennai were a leveller but they didn’t do Bangalore any harm. With the Delhi surface also expected to help spinners – but not likely to be as slow-scoring – they need to buck up.
Former Delhi player Jayant Yadav could keep his place in the XI or Marco Jansen could return to give the bowling attack extra pace. Ishan Kishan’s form continues to worry with the bat. Quinton de Kock needs a score, too, and may come under pressure from Chris Lynn.
Possible XI Rohit, De Kock, S Yadav, Ishan, Pollard, Hardik, Krunal, J Yadav, Chahar, Bumrah, Boult
Another disappointing week for Rajasthan on the personnel front. Jofra Archer was confirmed as missing the entire tournament while AJ Tye quit the bubble to go home.
The Royals now have only four overseas players and with the Covid situation worsening in the country convincing replacements to come is going to be some task. They have requested loan players from other franchises.
Still, they won last time out (against Kolkata Knight Riders) and that is a credit to their spirit and hard work. You never know, the situation could bind the squad like never before and that bonhomie could take them a long way.
They are going to have to play out of their skins, though, because, man for man they are the weakest team. They desperately need Jos Buttler to step up and build on that fine bowling effort versus KKR.
Possible XI Buttler, Jaiswal, Samson, Dube, Miller, Parag, Tewatia, Morris, Unadkat, Mustafizur, Sakariya
The surface at the stadium formerly known as the Kotla is the second most spin-friendly in the tournament. The data suggests a bat-first approach is the way to go, although there is a doubt as to whether that suits Rajasthan who have been hopeless at defending.
Run-making is unlikely to be as tough as Chennai. For example, it is on a par with Bangalore for boundary percentage. Ten scores in the last 15 in first dig have busted 160 or more.
Pre-tournament there was some discussion that Mumbai’s only weakness was against spin. Not true. Rajasthan are their kryptonite. They have lost six of the last eight.
Mumbai are 1.674/6 with the Royals 2.3611/8. The toss has been key in those recent match ups with Royals chasing with aplomb. A smart antidote to skinny Mumbai odds is a nibble on the Royals, batting second, at the break from 2.506/4.
De Kock is having a peculiar run of form. He has only got out of double figures once (to top score against Sunrisers) and has been becalmed at the crease. Could the sight of some of the Royals bowlers stir him into action?
Possibly. He likes Chris Morris (strike rate 177, zero outs), Mustafizur (225/0) and Unadkat (152/0). Sportsbook have price-boosted him to 10/3. That’s a more than 4.5% edge on win rate. It could well be that De Kock is in a terrible funk but the stats suggest he’s a wager.
Rohit Sharma is 12/5 but his win rate is at 25% so we’re not playing. Kieron Pollard, as discussed on Cricket…Only Bettor, is an in-play wager from at least twice his 9/1 starting odds.
Are Mumbai on the slide? This week on Cricket…Only Bettor