Two teams with just two wins under their belt in the 2021 Indian T20 League season take on each other as Rohit Sharma’s Team Mumbai play host to Sanju Samson’s Team Rajasthan at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday, April 29.
While Mumbai’s bowling has been top-notch so far, they have largely been hit by their middle-order muddle this season. Rajasthan, on the other hand, have done what they have always been known for; playing inconsistent cricket.
A change in venue though might have a little effect on the fortunes of both the teams.
Mumbai vs Rajasthan probable playing XI
Mumbai doesn’t really like to make changes in their starting lineup, to say the least. And despite a poor run of form of the likes of Kieron Pollard and Hardik and Krunal Pandya, they are expected to field the same XI that took on Punjab last week.
For Rajasthan, the return of Yashasvi Jaiswal in the starting XI was a welcome boost and they are rightly expected to stick with him even against Mumbai, meaning that Manan Vohra will once again be excluded from the roster.
Mumbai predicted XI: Quinton De Kock (wicket-keeper), Rohit Sharma (captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Rajasthan predicted XI: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (captain and wicket-keeper), David Miller, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Chris Morris, Jaydev Unadkat, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya
Mumbai vs Rajasthan prediction: Who will win?
As suggested by their head-to-head record, Team Rajasthan have always managed to get under Mumbai’s skin in the Indian T20 League. In a total of 22 matches in the competition, both teams have won 11 games each. But this is where things get interesting; since 2015 Mumbai have managed just two victories against Rajasthan in eight outings.
What makes Rajasthan further favourites is their record in Delhi. The one-time Indian T20 League champions have won four of their nine games in Delhi, while Mumbai, too, have won four games albeit in 11 attempts.
Odds are in Rajasthan’s favour at this moment and expect them to know where to strike Mumbai on Thursday.
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Top Tip: Best Batsmen
Judging by his own standards, Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma is yet to reach the full potential this season. But a change in the venue where the pitch is expected to favour the batsmen too can make the difference. The opener has a decent record against Rajasthan, scoring 490 runs in 21 innings at an average of 23.33.
For Rajasthan, one can right put their money on Sanju Samson who has scored four half-centuries against Mumbai in the Indian T20 League. His tally against the defending champions reads 446 runs in 16 innings at an average of 29.73.
Top Tip: Best Bowlers
A certain Piyush Chawla has enjoyed bowling against Rajasthan, but given the uncertainty regarding his place in the starting XI, Jasprit Bumrah remains the safest bet. The Indian pacer has played eight matches against Rajasthan in his Indian T20 League career and has returned with a figure of 11 wickets at an excellent economy of 7.23.
Same cannot be said for Rajasthan bowlers though. Jaydev Unadkat is currently the highest wicket-taker for Rajasthan against Mumbai, having scalped 14 wickets in 13 innings but that has come at an economy of 8.57.
Top Tips: All-rounder and wicket-keeper
Mumbai have a plethora of all-rounders at their disposal, but it is Rajasthan's Chris Morris who holds the edge as far as the current form is concerned. His ability of hitting big at the death and picking crucial wickets has already been showcased this season and that’s why he remains the safest bet.
Now, choosing between Quinton de Kock and Sanju Samson can be difficult, but fact remains that the latter has been more prolific so far and is more like to outwit his counterpart on Thursday too.
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Featured photo: AFP / Money Sharma