Mumbai and Rajasthan face off in do-or-die IPL clash - GulfToday

Mumbai and Rajasthan face off in do-or-die IPL clash


Mumbai Indians players celebrate fall of a wicket during an IPL match. Courtsey: IPL website

Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter
A buoyant Rajasthan Royals will take on an inconsistent Mumbai Indians in their must-win match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Sharjah on Tuesday.

Both the teams are fighting for a play-off berth and despite being tied at 10 points each along with Punjab Kings, Mumbai are one place adrift of Rajasthan in the table.

At least the fate of one team will be sealed as the winner will keep their hopes alive and vie for the knock-out berth with Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab, while the loser will have to ship out.

With Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore already into knock-out stages, Kolkata, Mumbai, Punjab and Rajasthan are left in the fray for one remaining berth.

Kolkata are fourth in the standings with 12 points followed by Punjab with 10 points, having played 13 games each.

While Mumbai and Rajasthan are at the sixth and seventh spots respectively with 10 points each but they still have two games each to play.

Rajasthan’s morale is high after a shocking victory against the leaders Chennai.  

They chased down the target of 190 --- highest in the UAE leg of the IPL in this edition.

Yashasvi Jaiswal smashed a blitzkrieg fifty off 21 deliveries and Shivam Dube played a match winning knock of an unbeaten 64 off 42 deliveries as Rajasthan stunned Chennai to keep their hopes alive.

Rajasthan are notorious for eking out thrilling come-from -behind wins in nail-biting finishes.

They did not let Punjab score three off the last overs with eight wickets in hands to notch up a thrilling victory earlier in the tournament.

After Chennai posted a huge total of 189, everybody had written Rajasthan off even before the chase began. But they had some different plans and they executed them beautifully.

All their batsmen chipped in with useful contributions. Evin Lewis and Jaiswal had set the tone by giving a blazing start to the team.

Sanju Samson played sensibly and took the match deep before Phillips and Dube finished the job in style as Rajasthan chased down the target for the loss of only three wickets with 15 balls remaining.

Rajasthan have shown how deep is their batting and they are capable of chasing any target. Dube became an overnight star and won the trust of both coach and captain, so did Jaiswal.

Rajasthan are the worst-hit team because of the pull-out of the foreign players in the UAE leg of the IPL.

England trio of Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes withdrew from the team. While Archer and Stokes cited health reasons for the pull-out, Buttler refused to come because of the quarantine rule.

It is believed most foreign players have withdrawn from the IPL to keep them fit and fresh for the World Cup.

In the absence of the star players newbies have stepped up from time to time to chip in with the useful contribution in team's victory.

On the other hand Mumbai are coming into the match on the back of a defeat against Delhi Capital.

After being restricted to a paltry 125 Mumbai failed to defend the total as Shreyas Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin took Delhi over the line.

Mumbai got off to a faltering start in the UAE leg of the tournament. They lost three matches on the trot, which has put their chances of qualification in peril, before bouncing back against Punjab to remain afloat.

After Kolkata’s loss to Chennai, Mumbai had a golden opportunity to make it to the playoff by winning all their three remaining matches without depending on the results of other teams.

But Mumbai squandered the chance after failing to notch up a victory against a rampant Delhi in Sharjah.

Hardik Pandya and Kireon Pollard have failed miserably in the tournament and a lot will depend on the opening pair of captain Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock.

If the opening duo can give a blistering start to Mumbai, they can fancy their chances of a wining against a confident Rajasthan.

Trent Boult is likely to spearhead the pace battery with Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jasprit Bumrah while Krunal Pandya will take care of the spin department.

With a play-off berth at stake and both the teams are refusing to give, the do-or-die game promises to be a  mouth-watering clash.

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