Published On: Sat, Apr 21st, 2018

Rajasthan Royals in need of batting revival

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Big Picture

Five matches into IPL 2018, Rajasthan Royals are yet to find their perfect batting line-up. Their big guns Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler haven’t fired like they can while Rahul Tripathi, who had a strike-rate of 158 in the Powerplay last season, continues to be stuck in the middle order. Against Chennai Super Kings on Friday, Royals swapped D’Arcy Short with Heinrich Klaasen at the top, but the South Africa batsman did not fare better either. Will they finally push Tripathi to open?

The worries have spread over to the bowling too. While spinners K Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal have impressed, Royals’ pace attack continues to look thin.

Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, are in much better shape. Having endured three successive losses, their emphatic 46-run win against Royal Challengers Bangalore exhibited their batting depth. That Mumbai’s win coincided with their captain Rohit Sharma hitting form will keep Royals worried.

In the news

  • Mumbai Indians’ wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan took a blow on his right eye while gathering a throw, in their previous match on Tuesday. But he took part in the net session and is expected to play.

  • Jofra Archer is training with the squad and is on recovery mode for a side strain that he picked up during the Pakistan Super League. Will he finally make his IPL debut?

The likely XIs

Rajasthan Royals: 1 Ajinkya Rahane (capt), 2 Heinrich Klaasen, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Jos Buttler(wk), 6 Rahul Tripathi, 7 Dhawal Kulkarni, 8 K Gowtham, 9 Shreyas Gopal, 10 Jaydev Unadkat, 11 Ben Laughlin

Mumbai Indians: 1 Suryakumar Yadav, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Rohit Sharma (capt), 4 Ishan Kishan (wk), 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Mitchell McClenaghan 9 Mayank Markande, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Stats that matter

  • Since 2015, chasing teams have won only four out of seven matches under lights at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium

  • Jasprit Bumrah has the wood over his former team-mate Jos Butter, having dismissed the England batsman twice in two matches, while giving away just one run off seven balls

  • Ben Laughlin needs one wicket to reach 150 wickets in T20s

Strategy punt

There is a case for Rohit to save Mitchell McClenaghan for Sanju Samson. The left-arm quick has dismissed Samson four times in four matches, while conceding 14 runs off 10 balls.

Fantasy pick

Despite his team managing only one win in four matches so far, Krunal Pandya has done little wrong in his individual capacity, and you shouldn’t do any by not picking him in your XI. He’s claimed five wickets at 6.55 an over – the second-best economy rate among the top 15 wicket-takers this season, to go with his 82 runs at a strike rate of 152.85.



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