IPL 2013: Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals – Live IPL Score
After getting out of jail against Sunrisers Hyderabad thanks to a surreal hitting display by Kieron Pollard, Mumbai Indians (20 points from 14 games) will take on Rajasthan Royals (20 points from 14 games) at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.
The winner of this contest will be assured of not just the playoff berth, they will also get the privilege of finishing in the top two and earning themselves the cushion of getting two cracks to contest the final.
On the face of it, it’s a battle between a team that loves playing at home (MI are unbeaten in seven games at Wankhede this season) and another (Royals have lost four of their six away games) that doesn’t like travelling.
The teams also have contrasting strategies. MI like to bat first while Royals like to chase. There are intriguing sub-plots too. Both teams feature game-breakers that love hitting in the V. Indeed, Shane Watson (RR, 483 runs from 12 games) and Pollard (286 runs from 13 matches) have introduced method to the madness of hitting sixes, like the world’s T20 emperor Chris Gayle. Hitting straight and cutting out the cute shots has paid them dividends and nowhere will the ploy be more rewarding than at the Wankhede, an arena with short straight boundaries.
MI and Royals also possess lethal left-arm seamers, both Aussies. Mitchell Johnson (20 wkts from 13 games) has been a trailblazer for the hosts. If his rediscovered inswing can sneak past the fragile defence of Ajinkya Rahane and the solid one of Rahul Dravid early, it could be a game-changing moment. Likewise, James Faulkner (19 wkts, 12 matches) has been talismanic for the Royals. His back-of-the-hand slower ones are difficult to pick and he’s also one of the best death bowlers.