A must win situation here for Sachin's boys.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Start time 20.00 (local), 14.30 (GMT)
A contest to savour: Sachin Tendulkar v Shane Warne (file photo) © Cricinfo Ltd
The Big Picture
The Mumbai Indians are in a must-win situation after two successive losses. If they win against Rajasthan Royals and follow it up with another victory in their final league game against Bangalore Royal Challengers on Wednesday, they will make the semi-finals. If they lose one of their remaining two clashes then they will have to hope that Chennai Super Kings lose their final match against Deccan Chargers.
Mumbai can blame no one but themselves for their precarious state. Their six-match winning streak - the longest in the IPL - is a distant memory already and they need to get the right combination which got them to winning ways after losses in their first four games. Sachin Tendulkar raised eyebrows when he opted for rookie spinners in last week's losses against Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils ahead of the medium-pacer Rohan Raje and wicketkeeper Yogesh Takawale, who excelled in pressure situations earlier in the tournament. Tendulkar can't afford any miscalculations against Rajasthan, proud occupants of the top spot in the points table.
Shane Warne is still smarting from the humiliation suffered in Mumbai in the first week of May where his batsmen were tied down by a charged-up Mumbai bowling. That loss ended Rajasthan's winning run at five games and now, with another chance to go for six successive triumphs, Mumbai again stand in their way.
Rajasthan Royals: P12, W10, L2, NRR +0.918
Mumbai Indians: P12, W6, L6, NRR +0.590
Form (last five matches, most recent first)
Rajasthan Royals: WWWWW
Mumbai Indians: LLWWW
Watch out for ...
Shane Warne v Sachin Tendulkar: Last time round this dream bout didn't happen as Tendulkar failed to recover from his groin injury. He is now back, and in good nick, and Warne, the best slow bowler in the IPL, will like to score over his old nemesis.
Sanath Jaysuriya v Sohail Tanvir: Jayasuriya has been in vintage form, disdainfully clobbering new-ball bowlers while Tanvir has been both incisive and economical and hasn't lost too many tussles with batsmen in the IPL.
Big hits: Yusuf Pathan, Shane Watson, Jayasuriya and Abhishek Nayar will keep the cheerleaders busy
After the failed experiments with spin, Mumbai are likely to replace offspinner Siddharth Chitnis, who was not even given a bowl against Delhi in the previous game, with Raje who is a good fielder as well Takawale, who had made some handy scores as Jayasuriya's partner in the absence of Tendulkar, might take over wicketkeeping duties from Pinal Shah. Dominic Thornely's all-round skills could see him picked ahead of South African fast bowler Andre Nel.
Mumbai Indians (probable): 1 Sachin Tendulkar (capt), 2 Sanath Jayasuriya, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Dominic Thornley, 5 Dwayne Smith, 6 Shaun Pollock, 7 Abhishek Nayar, 8 Yogesh Takawale (wk), 9 Dhawal Kulkarni, 10 Rohan Raje, 11 Ashish Nehra.
Rajasthan are the only team with double-digit victories and have the liberty to try out any combination. Graeme Smith is likely to sit out after pulling a hamstring in his previous game and Shane Watson could come back after a one-game break. Warne might also pick the hard-hitting Ravindra Jadeja instead of Taruwar Kohli.
Rajasthan Royals (probable): 1 Shane Warne (capt), 2 Shane Watson, 3 Kamran Akmal (wk), 4 Swapnil Asnodkar, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Mohammad Kaif, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Dinesh Salunkhe, 9 Sohail Tanvir, 10 Pankaj Singh, 11 Munaf Patel
Stats and trivia
Their 103 against Mumbai remains Rajasthan's lowest score so far in the tournament
Besides being the tournament's second highest wicket-taker, Tanvir has the best average and economy-rate among bowlers who have sent down more than 20 overs
Both the young spinners that Mumbai tried proved ineffective - Vikrant Yeligati and Chitnis both have economy-rates greater than ten.
"We are very keen to make amends for the loss against Mumbai which was very bad."
Darren Berry, Rajasthan Royals' assistant coach is in no mood to be generous this time before the home clash against Mumbai.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo