The defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will take on the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Match 24 of the IPL 2021 season at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Thursday. This will be the first game of the double-header and will also be the first match for both sides at this venue.
MI finished their troublesome Chennai leg with a bitter nine-wicket loss to the Punjab Kings (PBKS). The slow surface at Chepauk certainly did not suit MI's style of play, as they managed to win only two out of their five games.
MI will now be relieved that they are heading to a new venue that might suit their power-hitters, given the size of the boundaries in Delhi.
RR, on the other hand, delivered a strong performance against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and ended their Mumbai leg with a morale-boosting win. They will be happy with the way the entire team came together in the previous game and will want to continue the momentum against MI.
MI vs RR: 3 batsmen to watch out for
As mentioned before, the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi doesn't have huge boundaries. With a high-scoring encounter on the cards, let's have a look at three batsmen who could have a great game:
#3 Sanju Samson
There has never been any doubt about Sanju Samson's talent and ability as a batsman but he hasn't always been the most consistent batsman.
Samson has played a few sensational knocks in the IPL, but hasn't been able to continue it for the entire duration of any season. This inconsistency cost him his place in the Indian T20 team as he was dropped from the home series against England.
Samson's inconsistency is visible once again this IPL season. Despite scoring a sensational 119 in the first game of IPL 2021, he followed that up with a string of single-digit scores.
However, in RR's latest game against KKR, Samson played a responsible knock of 42 and saw his team home comfortably in the end. This innings would have given the RR skipper immense confidence to face off against MI — a team he has just loved batting against.
Samson has scored 560 runs in 18 games against MI, including an incredible seven half-centuries. He would certainly like to keep this record going against the defending champions and lead his team to back-to-back wins.
See who is at the top of the Orange Cap 2021 list here.
#2 Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav has had a mixed bag as far as the IPL 2021 season is concerned. The 30-year-old has got off to a good start in almost every single match and has managed to amass 154 runs in five games. Although he has scored just one half-century, Suryakumar has looked the most fluent MI batsman this season.
His contribution has been immense ever since he was snapped up by MI in 2018. Suryakumar scored 1316 runs in his first three seasons for MI and showed his versatility by batting at different positions according to the team's needs.
Suryakumar is arguably the best player of spin that MI have and thus, his role might be even more crucial in Delhi where the track assists the spinners a bit. With the boundary sizes not that huge, the 30-year-old can unleash different shots from his repertoire and score big.
His innings will be extremely crucial in setting up a platform for power-hitters like Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya to explode towards the death.
#1 Rohit Sharma
One of the biggest positives for MI so far has been the return of Rohit Sharma to his best. The MI skipper has scored 201 runs so far on pitches difficult to bat on and is his side's leading run-scorer this season.
The 33-year-old played a splendid knock of 65 in his last game against PBKS but couldn't quite help his team win. The pitch in Delhi and the dimensions of the ground would certainly suit Rohit's style of play.
It has been pretty evident in the past that once the MI skipper gets going, there is no stopping him. The defending champions will be hopeful of their talisman stepping up and giving his team a flying start.
MI have been disappointing in their batting performance so far this season. However, just one top knock from Rohit could well be the flip of the switch that MI need.