Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that Hardik Pandya will become the focus of discussion after today's match between the Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. He mentioned that the all-rounder is likely to play a game-changing knock.
Aakash Chopra made this observation while previewing tonight's IPL 2020 clash between the two sides in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
He stated that the Mumbai Indians should stick to their winning combination from the last match.
"Mumbai Indians do not need to make a change in their playing XI. They have actually reached the auto-pilot mode."
Aakash Chopra added that Jasprit Bumrah not being at his mean best could be a slight concern for the Mumbai Indians, but acknowledged that the speedster has bowled all the difficult overs.
"Bumrah's overs have proved to be a little expensive but he has also been bowling all the tough overs. He has been used as a guy who is the best bowler in the side and off course he is, but because of that he has been leaking runs."
The reputed commentator observed that the long hiatus from the game and the injury prior to that could be the reason for the Mumbai Indians' premier pacer not being as frugal as last year.
"It is also a fact that he has not been as economical in 2020 as he was in 2019. Injury and the long layoff may actually hurt you and that may just be the reason."
Talking about the Rajasthan Royals, Aakash Chopra said that the Steve Smith-led side has to make changes to their playing XI, because of their current top-heavy batting and slightly weaker middle order.
"But Rajasthan Royals need to make changes to their team. Because although you played Mahipal Lomror and he scored runs as well, I am still not convinced. The reason is that you have Buttler, Smith and Samson as the top three, who are world-beaters but there is not that much prowess in their No.4 to No.7."
The former KKR player called for Yashasvi Jaiswal to be included as an opener against the Mumbai Indians, with Steve Smith batting in the middle order.
"Once Ben Stokes is available after his quarantine period, he will bring a lot of balance to this team. But at this point of time, I do feel that they should get Yashasvi Jaiswal to open the innings with Smith coming down the order to lengthen the batting."
Aakash Chopra on the probable gamechanger in the Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals clash
Aakash Chopra picked Hardik Pandya as the potential gamechanger in tonight's encounter between the Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals.
"I am going with Hardik Pandya. I have got a voice from my heart that it is his time, that he will score runs and he will get more deliveries to bat. He already has form, he is consistently making runs, his strike rate is also high."
The 43-year-old observed that the Baroda all-rounder is likely to play a swashbuckling innings which would catch the viewers' attention.
"But no one has been talking about him in this tournament but they will be doing that after this match, that is what I feel."
Aakash Chopra signed off by picking the Mumbai Indians as the likely winners in their clash with the Rajasthan Royals today.
"I am going with Mumbai Indians, they are the better side."
A win for the Mumbai Indians tonight will help them join the Delhi Capitals at the top of the IPL 2020 points table. A victory for Rajasthan Royals, on the contrary, will help them gain a spot in the top four and keep them very much in the race for a playoff berth.
Published 06 Oct 2020, 13:07 IST