After starting the season on fire, KKR find themselves now languishing in sixth spot in the league table after registering eight points in as many matches.
Virat Kohli’s RCB, on the other hand, remain rooted to the bottom with just one win to show from their eight outings.
Will Kolkata reignite their play-offs ambition or will Bangalore heap further misery on the twice champions? Follow the ball-by-ball updates from the Eden Gardens below to find out.
Rajasthan Royals got a tense victory in their previous IPL 2019 meeting with Mumbai Indians, after a dramatic collapse in a chase of 188.
They were 100/1 after 10 overs but lost four wickets in nine balls to turn a stroll into a last-over thriller. That win boosted their faint play-off hopes, but losing to Kings XI Punjab in their next game means the top four remains a distant prospect.
Mumbai have no such concerns. They bounced back from losing to the Royals by beating Delhi to go second in the table, and will go top with a win on Saturday.
WILL BEN STOKES RETURN FOR RAJASTHAN?
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has made just 104 runs in six matches, with a top score of 46, and taken six wickets while going at an economy rate of 11.22. That middling form saw Stokes dropped for the last two games.
But the players who have come in for Stokes haven’t shone either. Liam Livingstone replaced him against Mumbai, bowling one over that cost 13 runs. Against Kings XI, where Steve Smith was also left out having endured a patchy season himself, Ish Sodhi and Ashton Turner got the nod.
Sodhi returned figures of 1/41 from four overs, though those were largely ruined by one bad over which went for 19. Turner, meanwhile, was out for a duck.
It would be unfair for either to get dropped after one game. But will the Royals’ desperation for a win be enough for the coaching staff to turn to the pedigree of Stokes again?
Had written this in my mid season review— Gaurav Sundararaman (@gaurav_sundar) April 18, 2019
"Perhaps Hardik and Pollard could be split to ensure that there is a run-rate acceleration in the middle overs too. Others can float"
Pollard + Hardik should bat 30 balls min each match.
MI will eventually get there but why so late?
MUMBAI LOOK TO ADDRESS POLLARD CONUNDRUM
Kieron Pollard’s last two innings have ended with him not facing a ball. Mumbai won both games, but the two scorecard entries of 0 (0) have led to questions over whether the Indians are using their power-hitter properly.
Pollard came in at four to power a chase of 198 against Kings XI, smashing 83 off just 31 balls, his highest-ever IPL score. He continued at two-down in the next game, but managed six off 12 against Rajasthan. In his two scoreless innings he has batted at six and seven.
Part of the thinking has been to get Krunal Pandya and Ishan Kishan time in the middle. Pandya needed to find form and Kishan will be vital later in the season when regular wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock returns to South Africa.
Hardik Pandya‘s emergence as a premier finisher has also reduced the reliance on Pollard. But are they wasting the West Indian?
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Tripathi, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (wk), Ajinkya Rahane (c), Stuart Binny, Ashton Turner, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga
Mumbai Indians have won the toss and elected to bat as they look to cement their standing in the IPL 2019 playoff race in Thursday’s clash against Delhi Capitals.
Both teams are tied on 10 points, and Chennai Super Kings’ surprise loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad means the winner of Thursday’s game will move within two points of the table-topping Super Kings. But the breathing room in the fight for fourth place has gotten smaller, with Sunrisers joining Kolkata Knight Riders on eight points and just two points outside the top four.
Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla ground has been a bogey venue for Mumbai in the IPL, as the Indians have a winning percentage of just 30 there, and have won just three out of nine games against Delhi. The Capitals’ own home form hasn’t been great this season, with only one win in three games at the Kotla, and that too came courtesy of a Super Over.
Rishabh Pant starred in the previous meeting between the two sides this season, hitting 78 off 27 balls to lead Delhi to a 37-run win in Mumbai.
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