Shane Watson (left) and Ajinkya Rahane have been in good form this season © IANS
Shane Watson (left) and Ajinkya Rahane have been in good form this season © IANS


By Nishad Pai Vaidya


May 18, 2014


Rajasthan Royals are gradually strengthening their charge towards the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 playoffs with them being in the third spot in the points table. They come up against the Mumbai Indians at the Sardar Patel Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad. This is an afternoon game and the sun would be beating down during the early part. Rajasthan would want to win this game and move closer to qualification. However, Mumbai have nothing to lose and would still cling on to that mathematical possibility.


The pitch at Ahmedabad is good for batting and any team winning the toss would want to bat first. At the same time, if you chase, you may still have a good chance. Rajasthan have been based here for a while and know the surface well, as a result they start as the favourites in the game by a mile.


Rajasthan have a settled unit. If Shane Watson is fit, he should come back in place of Ben Cutting. Kevon Cooper may hold his spot and continue to play instead of Kane Richardson. He also gives them a good batting option as he was promoted to No 3 in the last game and smashed a quickfire 32. Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair give them good stability at the top. And the rest of the batting is quite stable with Sanju Samson and Stuart Binny to come later. Steven Smith is their trump card and should be another floater in the batting order.


Pravin Tambe is the leader as he takes the wickets in the middle. Rajat Bhatia is another bowler who puts pressure. James Faulkner has been expensive this season and would do well to deliver a knockout punch.


Mumbai may struggle against this bowling attack as they haven’t found the right combination. Lendl Simmons and CM Gautam are their openers with Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma to follow. Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson give them the punch in the batting order. However, the big day is that Lasith Malinga is not around as he has left for national duty. That is a big setback and they may now draft in someone like a Marchant de Lange for this game. But, Mumbai seem to have lost all hope here. Rajasthan should sail home.




Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Ankush Bains, James Faulkner, Pravin Tambe, Kevon Cooper, Unmukt Chand, Steven Smith, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Iqbal Abdullah, Karun Nair, Vikramjeet Malik, Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Kane Richardson, Dishant Yagnik (wk), Tim Southee, Rahul Tewatia, Ankit Sharma, Amit Mishra.


Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Aaditya Tare (wk), Michael Hussey, Sushant Marathe, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Ben Dunk, Josh Hazlewood, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Shreyas Gopal, Jalaj Saxena, CM Gautam, Krishmar Santokie, Marchant de Lange, Jasprit Bumrah, Apoorv Wankhede, Pawan Suyal.


Time: 20:00 IST | 02:30 GMT


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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)