Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Fight for fourth spot intensifies as RR take on MI. The equation for RR is quite simple: they need to beat both MI and KKR to make the playoffs
The equation for RR is quite simple: they need to beat both MI and KKR to make the playoffs
With less than 10 days to go for the crowning of the IPL 2021 winner, it comes down to the battle for the fourth spot that's being contested so fiercely. Of the four teams vying for the spot, KKR are best-placed given their superior NRR. However, Rajasthan Royals can throw a spanner in their works should they win the remainder of their two games – the first of which is against the Mumbai Indians.
The defending champions have punched below their weight since resumption. They've lost four out of their five games in the UAE. Part of the reason has been their batsmen struggling against some of the two-paced wickets in the heat of the Middle East. No batsmen in the MI line-up has struck over 120 since the league moved. They've struggled to get the spinners away and have failed to accelerate in the middle overs with a misfiring middle order. That said, MI still have a side that can overcome any opponent on their day, and as history has shown, they bring out their best game when their backs are against the wall.
On the other hand, if anyone can overcome the might of MI, it is RR, and it shows in their record against them since 2018; they've won 5 of their 7 clashes against Rohit Sharma's side. RR have struggled for consistency themselves, but against CSK, they seemed to have had a near-perfect batting game with the top four coming good. It helped them chase down 190 with two overs to spare. They will hope to carry forward that momentum when they take on MI.
The equation for RR is quite simple: they need to beat both MI and KKR to jump to 14 points. Whereas, for MI, their best-case scenario is to win both their remaining games and hope RR get the better of KKR. For now though, both sides will take one game at a time and let the focus remain on their immediate task at hand to move one step closer to that playoff spot.
When: Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 19:30 IST
Where: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
What to expect: Much unlike last season, the games in Sharjah have been unpredictable with most sides confused about how the wickets will play out. The surfaces have been on the slower side and of six matches at the venue this season, four have been won batting second.
Head to head: Not much separates the two sides in the 23 clashes that MI and RR have faced each other. MI are slightly ahead with 12 wins, while RR have 11.
Rajasthan Royals:RR are unlikely to make changes to their XI after a wholesale of them in the last game and should stick to the same squad that took on CSK in last game. However, if going by match-ups and MI's woes against spin in the UAE, they could bring in an extra spinner for Akash Singh should Dube be called on to bowl.
Tactics and match ups:Mumbai's scoring rate against spin in the UAE leg has just been 6.11. RR will want to bring in their spinners early in the game to curb that. We may see Tewatia being tried out in the powerplay against Rohit given that he's only managed to score 3 runs in 8 balls against the all-rounder, losing his wicket to him once even. Adding to that the fact that de Kock has struck at just 83.90 against the spinners this season.
Probable XI:Evin Lewis, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Shivam Dube, Glenn Phillips, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Akash Singh/Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman
Mumbai Indians:Mumbai are likely to stick with Jayant Yadav after bringing him into the XI for their previous clash. They should go in with an unchanged side, especially now that Suryakumar Yadav got among the runs against Delhi Capitals.
Tactics and match-ups:Samson has struggled against Bumrah, striking at just 106.67, having been dismissed twice. He's also fallen thrice to Trent Boult against who he's scored 30 runs in 23 balls. If in the middle overs, MI may want to avoid Coulter-Nile and Krunal Pandya against Samson, given his strike-rate of over 150 against them.
Probable XI:Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jayant Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult
Did you know?
– Rohit's record against RR is quite average with the opener having scored just 294 runs in 16 innings averaging 18.38, striking at 120.99
– MI's scoring rate against spinners in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 is 6.11 rpo. Only Sunrisers Hyderabad fare worse with a run-rate of 6.05
What they said:
We consider all games as important. We are not thinking that we need to win two games to make the play-offs. We are focused on our next game against MI. We're taking one game at a time. We just want to give our 100% and enjoy ourselves like we did in the last game. MI are a dangerous side and on their day they can take the game away from anyone. We don't want to think about who they're playing, but back our strengths and back our plans. – Rahul Tewatia