IPL 2018: Rohit Sharma should play waiting game as Mumbai Indians take on flagging Rajasthan Royals

Sudhir Gupta 20:04 21/04/2018
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The defending champions’ title defence finally flickered into life at the Wankhede Stadium last time out as not even an inspired Virat Kohli could stop Mumbai Indians from thrashing Royal Challengers Bangalore.

That 46-run win was their first taste of victory in this year’s IPL – and they have a superb opportunity to keep the momentum rolling against Rajasthan Royals.

The Royals desperately need a response in Jaipur after being sorely beaten by Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings in the space of three days.

TALKING POINTS

Luck has finally averaged out for Mumbai after three ultra-slim defeats – including two that went down to the last ball.

A more patient approach at the crease helped them against RCB as Evin Lewis (65) and Rohit Sharma (94) did not get skittish over dot balls, despite 20 during the powerplay.

In Mumbai’s three previous matches, only Suryakumar Yadav had made a fifty and keeping wickets in hand again on Sunday will be crucial. They have the bowling attack to bog any side down.

Rajasthan, on this year’s evidence, do not. K Gowtham and Stuart Binny were carted around Pune by Chennai opener Shane Watson last time out. They could bring seamer Dhawal Kulkarni back in, but he has not covered himself in glory either.

PLAYERS IN FOCUS

That being said, the one shining light for the Royals has been Shreyas Gopal, who has by far and away the best bowling economy (5.92) in the IPL this year.

The leg-spinner desperately needs help and it would make sense for all-rounder D’Arcy Short to return and muck in with his own handy tweak. They need a seamer to step up from somewhere though.

In the batting department, Rajasthan are still waiting for one of their two English firebrands in Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes to supplement the fine knocks of Sanju Samson.

Mumbai’s bowlers are in good health but watch for Mustafizur Rahman’s impact. The left-arm quick gave up a woeful 55 runs against RCB – he probably took the news that Bangladesh’s contracted players would not be awarded pay rises to heart.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Mumbai Indians: Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mustafizur Rahman, Jasprit Bumrah

Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Heinrich Klaasen, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Shreyas Gopal, K Gowtham, Ben Laughlin, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni

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