MI ended their Chennai leg on a losing note, with the Punjab Kings comprehensively beating the defending champions. Only Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav got going against PBKS, with another middle-order collapse seeing Mumbai crawl to 131/6.
Despite the MI bowlers' best efforts, Punjab smartly went about the chase and won the game with six wickets and more than two overs to spare. Mumbai have won just two out of their first five games and they will hope to put together a consistent run in Delhi.
While MI have lost two in a row, RR broke a similar run following their win over the Kolkata Knight Riders. Chris Morris, the IPL's most expensive-ever player, had his best outing with the ball, with his four-wicket-haul restricting KKR to just 133/9.
RR skipper Sanju Samson returned to form with an unbeaten 42, as Rajasthan won their first match in three attempts.
Although MI have been the most successful franchise in the IPL, RR have a favorable head-to-head record in recent years. Rajasthan have lost just once to Mumbai in the last three years, with the overall tally being 11 wins apiece.
IPL 2021: MI vs RR Match Prediction
MI, who will be hoping their batting unit steps up against RR, have scored at a rate of 7.45 at the death - the lowest amongst all teams in IPL 2021. The Mumbai batters have to adjust to Delhi conditions better than they did in Chennai.
Hardik Pandya is yet to fire, but the power-hitter will be licking his lips at the prospect of the small boundaries on offer in Delhi. MI will also take solace from the fact that RR have been the worst death-bowling team this season, conceding 11.51 runs per over in the phase.
While Jayant Yadav hasn’t done too badly for them, MI may look to play another pacer in Delhi. Adam Milne or Marco Jansen may return if Mumbai want to move away from their three-spinner approach.
For RR, the latest set of withdrawals means they have no alternatives when it comes to their overseas players. Jos Buttler is short of runs at the top, averaging just 17.80 in IPL 2021. But MI are one of Buttler’s favorite opponents, with the Englishman boasting an average of 86.33 along with a strike rate of 175 against the five-time champions.
One change could see Shreyas Gopal returning to RR's playing XI as he could fare well against MI’s openers. He has dismissed Rohit Sharma twice and Quinton de Kock once, with both batsmen striking at less than 90 against Gopal in the IPL.
RR skipper Sanju Samson has a fascinating battle on his hands too. He has been dismissed twice each by Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult in the past, and how the right-handed batsman negotiates the MI pace duo could be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the game.
Jaydev Unadkat suggested the Delhi surface could favor batters, and it would be good news for MI. The side winning the toss is likely to bat first, considering it is a day game and the heat will certainly play a factor. The 3:30 PM start means dew will play no role in the fixture.
MI are too good a team to lose three in a row. Most of their defeats could be put down to the sluggish Chennai wickets. As they will now be playing on a comparatively better surface in Delhi, expect Mumbai to return to winning ways on Thursday.
Prediction: MI to win