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|Jofra Chioke Archer||4.0||0||16||2||4.00|
Some late jitters for the early leaders and a return to form for some of the team lagging behind has meant that the fight for the final playoff spot is very much alive going into the final week of matches. Two of the teams that are in the thick of things, the Mumbai Indians, and the Rajasthan Royals will be taking on each other in this contest. Both teams have won more matches than they have lost recently and are peaking at the right time. This is a must-win game for both teams because a loss could make it very difficult for them to qualify.
It looks like the Mumbai Indians are on their way to pulling off one of their famous escape tricks this year as well. The team is now in the-4 for the first time since the season began and will do anything to stay there.
The record of the Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals is exactly the same at this point in time. Both teams have lost six matches and won five out of the eleven that they have played. There is, however, a huge difference in the type of cricket the two teams play and the nature of their squad composition.
Playing at home will be a huge advantage for Mumbai Indians in this tense encounter. They have a team that should on paper be able to play well in most conditions and that is exactly what the team has been proving over the last few matches.
After a lot of shuffling around, the Mumbai Indians batting order seems to be settling down. Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, and Rohit Sharma are the preferred top-3 with Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, and Ben Cutting providing the power in the middle to lower order.
JP Duminy is almost being used as insurance against any possible collapses or in case an experienced hand is needed late in the inning. Perhaps the Mumbai Indians could play Duminy in place of Ishan Kishan if the need arises because he is a world-class performer that can win a match on his own.
We like the variety of the Mumbai Indians bowling attack as well. McClenaghan, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ben Cutting are all capable of bowling a heavy delivery and pushing opposition batsmen on the backfoot.
The spinners, Krunal Pandya and Mayank Markande, are also good enough to take advantage of any assistance that the surface might provide.
The record of the Mumbai Indians may not suggest so but we believe they have been the most consistent team this season. They have won five matches and cam extremely close on four other occasions.
If the Mumbai Indians can continue to play in the same vein then their road to the playoffs looks set to get a little bit easier.
SA Yadav, Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ben Cutting, Krunal Pandya, Jean-Paul Duminy, MJ Mcclenaghan, Mayank Markande, JJ Bumrah.
The Rajasthan Royals must be ruing not having Jos Buttler open the inning for them from the very first game. Pushing the Englishman up the order has made such a huge difference to the team that in hindsight it looks like a massive blunder on the teams part.
Buttler now has four consecutive half-centuries and single-handedly won Rajasthan the match against the Chennai Super Kings in the last match. He has been starting quick and ensuring that he is able to smash the big sixes to help close out the match as well.
The question, though, is if he can continue to do the job for Rajasthan alone every single time?
Ben Stokes opened the batting for the first time against CSK and we are not sure if he is going to do that again in the upcoming matches. The Rajasthan Royals already have a lot of trouble in trying to figure out their batting order that throwing another option in the mix may not be the best option.
The Royals must hope that Stokes, Archer, Sodhi, and Buttler all have a good match because beating an in-form Mumbai Indians team in Mumbai is not going to be an easy task. Thankfully, for the Rajasthan Royals, a couple of their Indian players have started to hit some good form.
K Gowtham has been bowling well and played a very useful cameo int he last matches as well. Stuart Binny also played a good hand and was able to provide some real value to the team. Sanju Samson has slowed up after a blistering start to this IPL season and if he can get back into some good touch then this Rajasthan Royals team starts to look formidable as well.
We are also very keen to watch how Jofra Archer goes on the relatively fast and bouncy wicket that the Wankhede will almost certainly offer. If he is able to nip out a couple of the Mumbai Indians batsmen early then we could see a very close contest.
The extra amount of pace that Jofra Archer brings and his ability to surprise batsmen with the short delivery is going to test all of the top-order batsmen in the Mumbai line-up.
The overseas players in Rajasthan Royals should enjoy the conditions that Mumbai should provide and that will even the scales a lot more.
Jos Buttler, D'Arcy Short, Ajinkya Rahane, SV Samson, BA Stokes, STR Binny, Jofra Chioke Archer, K Gowtham, S Gopal, JD Unadkat, DS Kulkarni.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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There is a 10 percent chance of rain that has been predicted for match day. The pitch in Mumbai is among the best for batting and both the bowling sides are sure to be under pressure. Dew has not been too much of an issue so far but as the monsoon season approaches, the humidity starts to become more of an issue in Mumbai. The spinners may have a tough time gripping the ball in the second inning and batting will become easier as the ball comes on easier to the bat.
The record over the last five matches has been quite close with the Mumbai Indians inching it 3-2. We are certain that this match will be very closely contested as well. A score of around 170 can be considered as par on this pitch and the chasing team will certainly be the one at an advantage.
We are backing the Mumbai Indians to win.
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