Rajasthan Royals search for four in a row, Mumbai Indians stare at 0-9

The sun has set on Mumbai Indians’ IPL 2022 campaign. And there are far too many questions than answers at present.

Did they spend wisely at the auction? In breaking the bank for Jofra Archer, who wasn’t going to be fit this season, did they shoot themselves in the foot? Having put the kind of exorbitant bid for Tim David, why haven’t shown faith in him? Is there a solution for Ishan Kishan‘s form slump? Is his auction price – a humongous INR 15.25 crore – hampering him mentally?
And then there’s an entirely different issue – the curious case of Rohit Sharma. What has happened to his form? Is Kishan’s poor form affecting his style of play at the other end? How long does he back a misfiring Kieron Pollard, a bonafide legend for the franchise.

Addressing some of these questions over the next three weeks could be a good start building towards next year.

Cricket-wise, there is little that bothers the Rajasthan Royals currently. Until last week, everyone wondered how they’d fare without Jos Buttler’s contributions. Well, they did just fine, and managed to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore too, courtesy a fine hand from Riyan Parag, one they’ve backed through thick and thin. It doesn’t appear to be much of a concern that they’re regularly playing just six specialist batters.

The bowling attack has looked as threatening as they come, and they’ve fired in unison to make them look strong contenders to go all the way. A win on Saturday will keep them in the top two, maybe even first with a bit of luck.

For the Royals, the match is significant in a different way. They will wear specially tailored kits in memory of Shane Warne, “the first Royal”. This is to celebrate the life and times of their captain, mentor and guide who masterminded their first-ever IPL triumph fourteen years ago.
Mumbai Indians have signed left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya as a replacement for another uncapped player Arshad Khan. Kartikeya has so far featured in eight T20s for Madhya Pradesh.

Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Ishan Kishan (wk), 3 Dewald Brevis, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Tilak Varma, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Daniel Sams, 8 Jaydev Unadkat, 9 Hrithik Shokeen, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Riley Meredith

Rajasthan Royals: 1 Jos Buttler, 2 Devdutt Padikkal, 3 Sanju Samson (capt, wk), 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Daryl Mitchell/Navdeep Saini, 6 Riyan Parag, 7 R Ashwin, 8 Trent Boult/Jimmy Neesham, 9 Prasidh Krishna, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Kuldeep Sen

  • How do you stop Buttler? Maybe the trick is in giving Bumrah the extra over upfront to play on his mind? In eight meetings, Buttler, the season’s orange cap holder, has been out to him four times, while only striking at 89.
  • Six of Prasidh’s nine wickets in IPL 2022 have been in the Powerplay. That’s more than how many he has taken in this phase in the past four seasons combined.
  • Royals’ average of 15.7 per wicket with spin is by far the best this season. No spin attack has taken more wickets than them.
  • Rohit Sharma has been out five times out of eight inside the powerplay, the most in a single IPL season.
  • His streak of 16 innings and counting without an IPL fifty is also his longest ever since joining Mumbai Indians in 2011.

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