Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals will clash in a must-win game in Indian Premier League’s double header on Thursday.
Rajasthan Royals, however, would be without their inspirational captain Shane Warne who is ruled out of the tournament for 10 days with a hamstring injury. Graeme Smith will lead the side in Warne’s absence.
Warne’s injury could not have come at a more inopportune time with Royals locked in a precarious situation as they have to win three of the remaining matches to remain in contention for a semi-final berth.
The situation is no different for Mumbai Indians who also need three wins from as many matches. They are currently at fourth spot with 11 points.
Mumbai would be high on confidence after two back to back victories against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab which breathed life into their title hopes after three successive losses.
Mumbai Indians were at the dominating best against Kings XI Punjab. The eight-wicket victory also solved their opening woes.
Dwayne Bravo, promoted up the order, fired 70 as Mumbai successfully chased 119 without any hiccups.
The bowling, too, looked impressive with Harbhajan Singh leading the attack with two wickets, giving away just nine runs in four overs.
“We are back in the competition. We are competing and our destiny is in our own hands. If we continue to play good cricket, we can definitely make the semis and look to go from there,” Mumbai Indians chief advisor Shaun Pollock said.
Royals have been inconsistent in the tournament and their biggest problem has been the batting.
They lost to Chennai Super Kings and Deccan Chargers in last two matches and have to quickly regroup to harbour hopes of finishing among the top four teams.
The team is over dependent on Yusuf Pathan to fire particularly while chasing, though Naman Ojha and Graeme Smith has been impressive off-late.