IPL 2018, RR vs MI: Rajasthan Royals (RR) probable playing 11 against Mumbai Indians (MI)
Rajasthan Royals know that a win against Mumbai Indians will not only get them back on track in IPL 2018 but also put a huge dent in the visitors' chances of making it through to the playoffs.
Rajasthan Royals have been utterly inconsistent so far this season and have won just two and lost three of their five games, which has meant that they are languishing in sixth spot in the IPL points table. Although MI are behind them a win for the visitors would push them over the hosts and that is why the hosts will be looking to make changes to the playing 11 to ensure that that doesn't happen.
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Here is a look at what Rajasthan Royals probable playing 11 to face Mumbai Indians might look like:
One of the biggest mistakes that the Royals committed in the game against CSK, which has been a recurring theme in this season's IPL has been the usage of Rahul Tripathi. The talented batsman hasn't been opening the innings and this might be the game in which they should look at playing to his strengths and opening with.
Alongside him at the top of the order will be captain Ajinkya Rahane. Although the skipper hasn't got a fifty so far this season, he has got his side off to a flying start and the side will be hoping that the game against MI will be the one in which he gets his first big knock of the tournament.
The most consistent cog in the Royals' batting line-up this season has been Sanju Samson. Despite his failures in the last two matches, he has almost 200 runs in the IPL this season and RR will be hoping that he continues his good form, against MI.
So far this season, Ben Stokes has looked good with the bat without ever going to make that big score that gets his side over the line. He is due a big one and MI better be wary of his ability to clear the fences at will. After being asked to open in his maiden IPL match, Heinrich Klaasen might find himself in the comfort of the middle-order once again. The presence of the Proteas keeper adds more depth to the middle-order and provides it with the ability to pack a punch at the death.
Jos Buttler has so far failed to live up to his name as one of the most destructive T20 batsmen in the world. Too often, he has been rotating the strike and not much else. He needs to kick into gear and playing against his former side might just give him the ammunition he needs.
K Gowtham has been impressive with both the bat and ball this season. The all-rounder from Karnataka has picked up important wickets while also showing that he can clear the ropes towards the end of the innings. Along with him, his spin twin, Shreyas Gopal has also been good without ever stealing the show. Facing up against his former side, who let him go, Gopal might just feel that this is the game where he truly breaks out and puts his side in a commanding position.
Although Jaydev Unadkat was the big-money signing in the IPL Auction, it has been the performance of Ben Laughlin that has caught everyone's attention. The Australian pacer has confused the batsmen with his variations and that is one of the reasons for him being the pacer with the most wickets in the RR line-up. Although he has been on the expensive side, he has at least taken wickets.
The same cannot be said for Jaydev Unadkat, who has failed to live up to expectations after a stellar year with Rising Pune Supergiant last time around. From five matches, he has just two wickets and he has also gone at almost 11 runs per over. That definitely has to change if the RR are to have any chance of beating MI.
The final piece of the puzzle is likely to be another Mumbaikar in Dhawal Kulkarni. After being dropped for Stuart Binny in the last game, he is likely to come back after the all-rounder's poor showing with both bat and ball. If he gets some early swing and gets rid of the explosive MI top-order, that could well send RR on their way to their third iwn.
Rajasthan Royals Probable 11: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Heinrich Klassen, Jos Buttler, K Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Ben Laughlin, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni