Defending champions Mumbai Indians have been in a rampaging form this IPL. Since their Super Over loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier this season, they bounced back strong to defeat Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad by comprehensive margins to take the top spot in the points table. With the return of the form of opener Quinton de Kock, Mumbai look more threatening than ever both as a batting and bowling unit. They will be up against a struggling Rajasthan Royals side, who, since their back-to-back Sharjah heroics, have lost at bigger grounds in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The Royals would be looking for a few changes amid the faltering form of three of their Indian players – Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag and Jaydev Unadkat.
Head-to-Head tie: Neither side have the upper edge against the other side in the head-to-head tie as both have won 10 matches each in 20 IPL meetings. However, Rajasthan Royals have beaten Mumbai Indians in their last four matches. They did not meet each other in the UAE in 2014.
At the venue: Mumbai Indians have won two and lost two at this venue in IPL. This season, they have a 2-1 record having won against KKR and KXIP after losing their opener to Chennai Super Kings. Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, had won all the three matches they had played in Abu Dhabi in 2014, but lost their only game at this venue against RCB last week.
– Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith has his best record against Mumbai Indians, scoring 412 runs at 51.50 with four half-centuries in 11 innings.
– Robin Uthappa has his best batting numbers at No.3 where he averages 30.51 in 76 T20 innings at that position, at a strike rate of 138.24. If Smith and Jos Buttler open the batting as usual, Samson can be pushed to No.4. He has a strike rate of an incredible 227.9 in the death overs in the last three IPL seasons.
– How about using Ankit Rajpoot like SRH used Sandeep Sharma against Rohit Sharma. He has dismissed the Mumbai Indian captain twice in four meetings at an average of 3.50.
– Despite Mumbai’s rampaging form, they have the second-worst scoring rate this season of 8.35 while Rajasthan, who have won two and lost two, have the best with 9.53 runs per over, primarily because of their two high-scoring games in Sharjah. Mumbai, however, at the best among all eight teams in the slog overs both with the bat (12.92 runs over over) and with the ball (9.99 runs per over).
– One issue that has hurt Rajasthan in their four games so far is their poor bowling in the powerplay where they have conceded runs at 8.54 runs per over while picking just two wickets.
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