Thursday, December 09, 2021 | Jumada al-ula 4, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Mumbai need momentum against confident Rajasthan
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IPL STROKES


PRANAV MEHTA


We often talk about momentum being a big factor in cricket. But here is a team which has lost 3 games out of 5. In the last 2 games, first they lost to Delhi Capitals and then got thrashed by Punjab kings in a one-sided affair. Mumbai Indians are coming after a much needed six-day break.


On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals were thrashed by Royal Challengers Bangalore and then they won against Kolkata Knight Riders. Early in the tournament, captain Sanju Samson was accused by the masses of not doing justice to his talent consistently, on which he expressed that he wanted to play cricket with freedom. Although, that was not the case, when he won his team the last match.


What’s wrong with MI?


Despite having almost zero momentum, MI will start as favourites against RR. Mumbai are known for starting their campaign poorly and then they find their rhythm, just when their backs are against the wall and there is no way out. After all, they have won 5 IPL titles out of 12, which is the best for any team.


So far in the tournament, MI have been trying to save their best resources for the crucial moments. Although, most teams realise this and they have been able to capitalise at other times.


The Pandya brothers and Keron Pollard have been their secret recipe for soo many years, but I guess that all teams have them figured out or they are terribly out of form.


What’s wrong with RR?


Inconsistent top order is always an issue. It doesn’t allow you to target a big score and that’s almost a necessity, considering that RR have a very inexperienced bowling attack. Mustafizur Rahman, Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakariya and Chris Morris are all very effective bowlers with their cutters, but low scores, dew and smaller grounds have broken their backs.


A lot of foreign players have left the team due to various reasons and now they are left with only 4 foreign players. Player loans are already open and RR management has expressed their want to loan a few players to various teams.


What to expect in the match?


Afternoon game would support RR a great deal and they would certainly fancy their chances against MI.


MI has a brilliant support staff and they would try and play the same brand of cricket, which has given them success of years, positive and attacking.


The match is in Delhi and it should favour the game play of MI and they should be able to start their campaign of domination from here.


KKR vs DC


KKR feels that they have found their lost touch with their win against Punjab Kings, but at the same time, they would not forget that they are playing against Delhi, who have been one of the dominating factors in this year’s IPL. DC lost a nail-biting thriller with RCB and would want to win this game and stay in the top two. KKR might have had their problem this season, but on their day, they have the capability to make the best of teams look very ordinary.


What’s wrong with KKR?


In their last match against Punjab Kings, KKR were consistently able to pick up wickets. This didn’t allow Punjab to gather any momentum and they finished at a very low score of 123. While chasing, KKR were 17 for 3, from where Eoin Morgan played a very patient knock, that was accompanied by the gentle aggression of Rahul Tripathi, to make sure that they get these very crucial 2 points to keep them alive.


Andre Russell or Dre Russ, is considered to be one of the biggest match winners in T20 cricket around the world. A player of his caliber needs to bat slightly higher in the order, so that even if he clicks in 4 or 5 games out of 14, but those games would be one sided and easy wins. He should at least have 10 to 12 overs to make a considerable impact.


Another thing which goes against KKR is that the management is not very patient and wants instant results. This results in consistent changes and with players not being able to settle in their slots.


What wrong with DC?


DC has a very well balanced and composed side. Obviously, they miss Shreyas Iyer as a captain and player. The DC management on various occasions has shown disbelief in Rishabh Pant. Just last game, he didn’t complete the overs of Amit Mishra, who is their biggest wicket taker.


Pant might not be very good as a captain currently, but definitely he is a good investment for DC. His game play and maturity as a player will only help DC to further grow in coming years.


Ishant Sharma also did brilliantly on his return. His sharp line and length have created problems for the batsmen.


One area, where DC really needs to work is the fielding department. They have been consistently dropping catches and their direct hit ratio is the worst amongst all teams.


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