Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians and Sanju Samson’s Rajasthan Royals team up to try to move up one place in the race for the top four. Times of crisis!
You can find bullet-by-bullet commentary here in English and here in Hindi. If you are in the US, you can watch this game on ESPN + in English as well as Hindi.
Kishan and Mumbai look familiar again
Disclaimer: This was one of the flattest performances you will see in the IPL by Rajasthan Royals.
Ishan Kishan could not have asked for a friendlier welcome to the XI than the one given him tonight by the Royals. There was no pressure from the scoreboard on him, his team had given him permission to get back in shape, and he had a nice little blow here. Raised his fifties with a six to top it off. Mumbai brought him in with Neesham to try and change that and more importantly stay in the tournament with real luck. Everything went perfectly.
During the presentation, Sanju Samson said the change in pitch really affected them – and also that it was much harder to hit in the first innings – because they were coming to Sharjah for the first time. I can’t really blame the hitters, he adds, although it could just be a captain defending his team in public. In reality, they are the ones who entered this game with the advantage, and with a lot more to lose. The stick didn’t reflect that at all. It is no longer a matter of calculations for them. They have to win against KKR to stay in the race. A loss in this game almost confirms that KKR has a playoff berth due to his net run rate. Mumbai will have to do big things in terms of margin to make the playoffs.
That’s all of today’s Live Report. Goodbye.
Hardik at 4 years old
They’re putting a team on the sidelines in the playoff race, and Mumbai seems to have decided they might as well try to keep pace while they’re at it. In their favor is how well the Royals look to be in this game. It has been a capitulation on their part tonight, not an ounce of trying since the start of their batting innings.
Rohit becomes the first Indian of the 400 club
The Royals don’t control so much anymore
We started the Live Report by talking about Royals facing a simple task and their progress entirely in their hands – that won’t be for too long, it seems. Unless this REALLY is a field issue, you can back Mumbai to get the colon tonight. Mumbai understood and adapted to this terrain so quickly – the Royals never did – after it looked like Lewis and Jaiswal had regained their speed. They managed to chain 79 balls without limits. In a T20 game. I don’t know for sure if it’s a record, but I don’t see how it isn’t. We have people looking at it. A completely soft surrender from the Royals is the other extreme of what they did in their last game. It also gave Mumbai a chance to increase that execution rate, although being explosive enough to come close to KKR’s net execution rate in this field is nearly impossible.
Half a T20 round from the last limit
Okay, I could have waited one more bullet to take this screenshot and make my point accurately, but the pressure cooker kicked in. #WFHWoes
Royals’ 33 points in middle overs (6.1-16) are the second lowest return for middle overs in IPL history. (at least 60 balls). The lowest return in this phase was KXIP versus CSK in 2009, when they scored 32.
First time in Sharjah
The Rajasthan Royals are the last team to play in Sharjah this second half. And it’s kind of to see, isn’t it? Particularly after the fluid highs of their last game, when they mocked their 190 run against the Super Kings. Mumbai used two strategies, short and in the body, or good length and wide of the southpaw. Dube and Lewis don’t particularly move their feet for deliveries that are wide to them on the outside, so that was expected. And the Dube window is the reward for this strategy.
Into the body worked for Phillips and Lewis, who were looking to shoot like they were playing on truer pitches. It was not at all a good assessment of the Royals’ batting conditions.
Mumbai’s quick adjustment
Between 1.2 and 2.1, Rajasthan Royals recorded 18 out of bounds outings. Common to all was the length – full and in the driving arc. Bumrah’s first ball was knocked back halfway, and since then Mumbai has not played a single driving-length ball. They went just a long way from a good length, and the left and right arm bowlers circled the wicket to hold on to the batters for room. The two limits since have been an outside edge and a short row ball – but in addition, they have two wickets.
What do you think?
This is a big step for the Indians in Mumbai, but perhaps a realistic way to let Ishan Kishan regain his form. Although he did well at No.4 last season, he has spent most of his T20 career hitting in the top three. you might be wondering why he didn’t replace Saurabh Tiwary, who had taken his place, but it’s pretty obvious that Mumbai wants him to hit a harder ball, with restrictions on the pitch to bring back a bit of confidence. It could be a good move for this particular player on this new Sharjah pitch, making the subsequent start against the spin difficult.
It might seem a bit harsh for Quinton de Kock, and he is out of luck: the only part Mumbai needed to fortify is their Intermediate Order, and returning to Kishan was not an option they were on. could bet again. Jimmy Neesham will provide greater batting strength than Krunal Pandya.
Rajesh S makes the crunch for us –
If the Royals beat Mumbai, they will join the Knight Riders with 12 points, and Thursday’s Royals-Knight Riders game will then be a shootout to decide fourth place – the winner will go through and the loser will be eliminated.
If Mumbai beat the Royals, Mumbai’s qualifying chances will obviously improve. They will qualify for sure if they beat the Sunrisers in their last game and if the Royals beat the Knight Riders. However, if the Knight Riders beat the Royals, Mumbai will almost certainly be knocked out due to their low net run rate.
If Mumbai beats the Royals but loses to the Sunrisers, and if the Royals beat the Knight Riders, then three teams will be tied for 12. The Punjab Kings would also join them if they beat the Chennai Super Kings. In that case, once again, Knight Riders senior NRR should get them through.
Master of my destiny
I’m not sure if it’s always time to turn to poetry when you’re in IPL, but Rajasthan Royals can now selectively channel Invictus. Not that it hasn’t been invincible or anything, but they are now very much in control of their destiny in this playoff race. It’s simple now – Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders are the teams that stand in their way, and they also happen to be their next two opponents. Beat them both, and it’s a first place in the playoffs since 2018. Lose to Mumbai tonight and they might have to throw the book of poetry and lean more spiritually.
Of course, no one has channeled the stories of invincibility as much as Mumbai has over the years. But there is a feeling of waning strength on their part right now. The staff didn’t show up, the certainty of their alignment suddenly seemed more rigid than assured, and the cruel truth to them is this: Even two out of two wins from here don’t guarantee anything. Is this what frees them? We’ll see.
Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo