Time running out for struggling Royals as they square off against Mumbai Indians
Ajinkya Rahane has scored 201 runs from 8 games this season. (BCCI Image)

Placed second from bottom, Rajasthan Royals‘ previous and only second win came against Mumbai Indians roughly a week ago – also their opponents on Saturday in Match 36 of the IPL 2019. Since then, the Royals have gone down against the Kings XI Punjab while MI have registered consecutive wins. With six matches left, the Royals will be keen to seek resurgence now more than ever, but in MI, they face a formidable opponents even though the three-time IPL winners lost the previous encounter by four wickets.

Jos Buttler and Shreyas Gopal had starred the first time these two sides faced each other. But here’s where it gets tricky for the Royals. Like the Delhi Capitals, the Royals have a pretty abysmal record at home as well. At the Sawai Man Singh stadium so far, the Royals have lost three matches barring the win against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Buttler and Gopal have led the side defiantly while the likes of Steve Smith and Ben Stokes haven’t quite lived up to the reputation. It will be a crucial test for the Royals’ middle order against a fiery MI bowling attack as they try and stage an inspiring turnaround here onward.

Speaking of turnaround, it’s something that MI have forged a pretty stunning one this season. After missing out the Playoffs last season, MI have been at their dominating best and it reflects through their position on the points table. With a resounding win over the Capitals, Mumbai have leapfrogged them to be placed second on the leaderboard. The opening pair is finally getting them the starts, the middle-lower order is firing more often than not, and in each match, a new name is standing up to the challenge and making the most of the opportunity.

With one leg on the Playoff door, Mumbai are firm favourites to go top with another win – they have a better run rate than table-toppers Chennai Super Kings. As for the for the Royals, well, time is slipping quickly.

What: Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai Indians

When: April 20, 2019 (Saturday)

Venue: Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Jaipur

Time: 4:00pm (IST)

Weather: Hazy conditions predicted with a high of 31 degree

Team News

MI have won their last two games. However, in both those matches – against RCB and the Delhi Capitals – Ishan Kishan and Ben Cutting have been slotted in the middle order. With both batsmen no being able to offer much, MI might be tempted to bring Yuvraj Singh back into the mix. That said, they can afford to stick to the winning combination and offer Cutting for another chance to prove his worth.

Probable XI: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Kieron Pollard, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Ben Cutting, 8 Jayant Yadav, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Rajasthan Royals

Stokes‘ return is imminent. But whether his injury has healed remains to be seen as there’s been no word on it. The promotion of Rahul Tripathi as openers paid off well with a half-century and the batsman showed glimpses of his form for the Rising Pune Supergiants. If Stokes is fit, Ashton Turner is likley to miss out considering his first-ball duck. Stuart Binny played a handy knock of 33 down the order and it is likley that he retains his place.

Probable XI: 1 Rahul Tripathi, 2 Jos Buttler, 3 Ajinkya Rahane (capt), 4 Sanju Samson, 5 Ben Stokes/Ashton Turner, 6 Stuart Binny, 7 Jofra Archer, 8 Shreyas Gopal, 9 Jaydev Unadkat, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Ish Sodhi

Head-to-Head

Overall: 22

MI won: 11

Royals won: 10

No result: 1