Latest update: Hours before the match against Mumbai Indians in Jaipur, Rajasthan Royals has sacked Ajinkya Rahane as captain and replaced him with Steve Smith. The Australian will lead the Royals till he departs to join the national team to prepare for the World Cup.
Rajasthan Royals will be looking to get their IPL campaign back on track against in-form Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
But they will be looking to complete the double over Rohit Sharma’s men after registering a four-wicket win – one of their only two victories in the tournament so far.
Mumbai meanwhile will be eyeing revenge and come into the game after back-to-back victories which have pushed them to the second spot.
They are a team firing on all cylinders, with openers Quinton de Kock and Rohit laying the platform and middle-order led by Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard providing strong finishes. Bowling also looks to be finding rhythm at the right time with Jasprit Bumrah and Rahul Chahar among wickets.
They defeated Delhi Capitals convincingly in their last match to leapfrog them to second position.
Royals meanwhile are second from the bottom and are desperate for a win. Only Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal have performed consistently for the men from Jaipur. The team has struggled at home, losing three of the four matches with only victory coming against bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane has looked out of sorts and even demoted himself to the middle-order in the previous game without much success. Steve Smith and Ben Stokes to haven’t hit the heights expected from them. Sanju Samson has shown glimpses of his talent but has been plagued by inconsistency after his ton against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
With English players leaving soon, the pressure is high on Royals to add up some more points to their tally. They might include Varun Aaron with the Indian pace department continuously letting the team down in crunch situations.
Players to watch out for
Jos Buttler – Jos Buttler has been the man in form for Royals and his start at the top will be important if the team is to have any chance of competing against strong Mumbai Indians. The England wicket-keeper tends to perform well against his former employees and played a key role in his team’s victory at the Wankhede Stadium.
Rahul Chahar – Chahar picked up three wickets against Delhi Capitals and the spinner has looked good for Mumbai in the season. He will be looking to perform in front of his home crowd in Rajasthan and his knowledge of the surface will come in handy against the Royals, who have struggled against spin.
RR – Royals might look at making changes to give chances to the likes of Mahipal Lomror and Aryaman Birla. Varun Aaron might also be included.
MI – Ben Cutting might be replaced by Jason Behrendorff. Ishan Kishan might also be included in the playing XI.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S. Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror, Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S. Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone, Shubham Rajane, Manan Vohra, Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Rahul Chahar, Ben Cutting, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan, Siddhesh Lad, Evin Lewis, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Alzarri Joseph, Jason Behrendorff, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Salam, Anmolpreet Singh, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Quinton de Kock.