Krunal Pandya (l) will be up against Ben Stokes (r) © AFP
Krunal Pandya (l) will be up against Ben Stokes (r) © AFP

Match 21 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 will see Rajasthan Royals (RR) take on Mumbai Indians (MI). The match will be played at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur. RR has had a poor time in the tournament so far, losing 3 out of 5 matches, including one at home. Mumbai, on the other hand, have won just 1 out of 4 (though they have been perennial slow starters). Statistically speaking, there is nothing much to distinguish between the sides: MI have won 8 matches and lost 6 against RR.

Rajasthan are missing Steven Smith dearly, both as batsman and captain. His presence in the side could have upped their morale. Shane Warne’s absence is also a cause of concern for Royals. His man-management skills are the need of the hour. Ajinkya Rahane is an excellent batsman, but his leadership qualities have definitely been challenged here. Ben Stokes did come to the party against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), but was too late. RR’s Twitter account did tease that Jofra Archer could get a game, igniting hopes for the fans.

Mumbai are also not performing as a well-oiled unit. One department or the other has kept faltering. A lot depends on Kieron Pollard, who really needs to pull up his socks, after failing with bat. They will be happy with the form of Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya and Mayank Markande. Mitchell McClenaghan and Mustafizur Rahman have been probing too, but have leaked runs every now and then. Also, Aditya Tare may replace Ishan Kishan if the latter is unfit.

Rajasthan Royals likely XI

Ajinkya Rahane (c), Heinrich Klaasen, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Stuart Binny, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin/Jofra Archer

Mumbai Indians likely XI

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

Predictions 

Rajasthan are clearly the side under pressure. They are not performing to its true potential, perhaps not having recovered from the absence of Smith. A good show against Mumbai will work wonders to their confidence. Mumbai will love to get the tag of poor travellers off their back. One can expect an exciting game at Jaipur.