Match 9 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 pits Mumbai Indians (MI) up against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium in Navi Mumbai. MI lost their tournament opener to Delhi Capitals (DC) while RR enter the game on the back of a thumping victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Mumbai lead the head-to-head with 13 wins against 11, although recent history favors the Royals, despite the fact that they lost both their games to Mumbai last season. Since 2018, Rajasthan has won five of the eight games contested between the two sides.
Three player battles to watch out for between MI and RR
With momentum on RR's side as well and an afternoon start that nullifies the effect of dew, they will fancy their chances of toppling the mighty Mumbai Indians today.
Here, we take a look at three player battles that could shape the nature of this contest:
#1 Rohit Sharma vs Trent Boult
Rohit Sharma's issues against left-arm swing bowling have been well-documented over time. To that end, how he faces off against his former teammate Trent Boult could headline the kind of start that Mumbai get off to.
The Kiwi has got rid of Rohit four times across all T20s, with the Indian skipper averaging just 16.50 against him. Given Boult's ability to shape the new ball back into the right-hander, it brings the possibility of LBW into play.
That said, this is an afternoon start and the ball may not swing as much as it usually does under lights. How the wily and skillful Boult manages to cope with this and shapes up to the task of providing early breakthroughs for RR makes this a spicy match-up.
#2 Jasprit Bumrah vs Jos Buttler
Mumbai's ace spearhead versus Rajasthan's batting lynchpin - this is as tantalizing a subplot as it can get! Jasprit Bumrah has had the wood over Englishman Jos Buttler, accounting for him thrice in all T20s, with the keeper-batter striking at a mere 95.
Bumrah comes into the contest on the back of a lackadaisical outing against the Capitals, while Buttler survived an early dismissal against SRH owing to Bhuvneshwar Kumar overstepping.
With Bumrah having the pace and the ability to hit the deck, while also boasting of variations aplenty, facing him is a task of some kind, even for one of the best in the business like Buttler.
RR's middle-order doesn't boast much experience and seeing the back of Buttler could put them to the sword. Mumbai Indians will be pinning their hopes on the talismanic Jasprit Bumrah to do the needful upfront and wrest control in their favor.
#3 Kieron Pollard vs Yuzvendra Chahal
Kieron Pollard has struck it at 160.46 against Yuzvendra Chahal in the IPL. It isn't a surprise really, considering that most of their duels have come on the batting paradises of Bengaluru and Mumbai.
However, Chahal has also accounted for the Trinidadian's wicket as many as four times across nine innings. Starting with spin is generally seen as a way to stifle down Pollard too, which automatically puts Chahal in the mix.
RR's frontline bowlers thrive on picking up wickets in a bid to derail the opposition. While they thwarted the SRH challenge without breaking a sweat, they will be up against more belligerence that comes in the form of the Mumbai batting powerhouse.
Thus, getting Pollard into the middle early and seeing the back of him equally quickly will be pivotal to RR's chances of calling the shots. Equally, sustaining a good start and carrying it forward will be on the shoulders of Pollard and Tim David.
Enough then, to make the Pollard-Chahal battle, a tantalizing and fiesty one, isn't it?
Poll : Who will come out on top today in Navi Mumbai?