IPL 2013: Inspired Rajasthan Royals take on the formidable Mumbai Indians

Rajasthan Royals have impact players and promising youngsters in their side © IANS

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Jaipur: Apr 16, 2013

Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians both the sides have notched up solid performances in the initial phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL), 2013. Both the outfits are high on confidence after their previous wins. Their face-off at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Wednesday will be the one to look forward to. While Mumbai side has some big names, Rajasthan have an amalgam of impact players and promising youngsters.

Rahul Dravid leads a side that has numerous youngsters. Along with Brad Hodge and Shane Watson, he has the responsibility of guiding this side. Rajasthan have opened the batting with Watson and Ajinkya Rahane. While Watson will play the aggressive role, Rahane would be more conservative. However, that doesn’t mean that Rahane wouldn’t take his chances and attack.

Hodge is the anchor in the middle-order and the perfect batsman for T20 cricket. He can play the responsible role if there are quick wickets or even take the attack to the bowlers in the slog overs. Sanju Samson, the wicket-keeper batsman from Kerala was impressive in both departments during Rajasthan’s previous game.

At their home ground, Rajasthan have picked their fast-bowlers to do the job on a wicket that supports them. Shanthakumaran Sreesanth bowled well against Kings XI Punjab and was backed by James Faulkner and Kevon Cooper. In fact, Faulkner and Cooper give this side good depth as they can contribute with the bat as well. Siddharth Trivedi is another important cog in their fast-bowling machinery.

Mumbai have recovered well after a defeat in their first game and are looking very strong. Sachin Tendulkar had a good outing against the Pune Warriors India and that augurs well for them. Ricky Ponting may be struggling to score runs, but his captaincy has been fantastic. He has marshalled his troops exceptionally well and made tactical bowling changes.

The Mumbai middle-order is in great form with Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma leading the way. At number three, Karthik has been very proactive and is striking the ball very well. Rohit started the tournament slowly, but has picked up on form. Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu add punch to the line-up and use the long handle with the word go.

In the previous games, Mumbai have used two specialist spinners — Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh. Given the nature of the Jaipur wicket, they might consider bringing in a Munaf Patel as that would strengthen their fast-bowling. Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson form a lethal combination and they would want to use the friendly conditions to their advantage.

On paper, Mumbai are undoubtedly the stronger side, but Rajasthan are a dangerous unit at home. They are inspired and would put in everything to trump Mumbai. However, Ponting’s men would certainly test Dravid’s unit.

The last time the two sides faced off at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Mumbai trumped Rajasthan by 10 wickets as Dwayne Smith and Tendulkar chased down the target with ease. Things would be different this year as Rajasthan have been buoyed by their early success.

Teams:

Rajasthan Royals (probable): Rahul Dravid (c), Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson (wk), Kevon Cooper, James Faulkner, Ajit Chandila, Siddharth Trivedi, S Sreesanth.

Mumbai Indians (probable) : Ricky Ponting (c), Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Rishi Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Munaf Patel, Lasith Malinga.

Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/nishad_44)