MI vs RR – The 24th match of the IPL 2021 tournament will witness Mumbai Indians taking on Rajasthan Royals in Delhi. Here, we take a look at some key game plans that could help both teams establish an edge over each other.
The Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians will face each other at the Arun Jaitley stadium to kick off their new leg hoping for a change in fortune. This game has always been one that is being looked forward to just for the fact that RR who are considered the underdogs tend to bring their A-game against the reigning champions.
The Rajasthan Royals have always been a side that has been underperforming for years. Their bowling has been a concern for a long and to add to it they are missing the services of Jofra Archer this year. When it was thought that the bowling attack without one of their premier bowlers will be a letdown, RR have certainly pulled themselves up and competed well.
The Mumbai Indians have been one of the best batting sides the tournament has seen in the past few years. Something that had set their side apart was their ruthless middle order and that has been one of the major ingredients to their success.
Not usually do you expect a side like Mumbai Indians to win just two out of the five games at the start of the season. The sole reason for this is their middle-order not firing as expected. As a consequence, the Mumbai top order has looked to take a precautious route this year.
MI vs RR – Mumbai Indians batting by phases
When we look at the batting performance of the Mumbai batsmen across different phases we can see that they have been really poor at the death. They lose a wicket every over at the death and have scored at a paltry rate of 7.38 RPO which is the least among all teams this year. To compensate for this, the top order has taken a very cautious route.
It is quite evident that MI have started slow. But it is more important to look at the number of balls they take to lose a wicket in the powerplay. That is the cautious approach mentioned here. They lose a wicket every 30 balls in the powerplay. The top-order batsmen look to bat through.
On average, both the openers have struck at less than run a ball in their first ten balls this season. They gradually up the ante moving into the middle overs phase. Only Suryakumar Yadav has been able to strike from the word go. Ishan Kishan also hasn’t been able to get going. So looking at this approach and the lack of form of the MI middle order, RR should look to completely exploit them.
MI vs RR – How can RR exploit the MI top order?
MI’s approach is clear. Their top-order tends to bat long. We should also take into consideration the kind of wicket they batted on. It was a tough wicket to get going after one point of time and hence they needed a settled batsman to walk them through.
But MI will be playing in Delhi, a stadium with very short boundaries and on a wicket that looks like it has a lot of runs on offer. Now it makes it all the more important for the RR bowlers to get rid of the MI top order as early as possible. The sole reason being that any settled top-order batsman from MI can take the game completely away from you.
MI vs RR – Left Arm Pacers vs MI top 4
The Rajasthan Royals are filled with a number of left-arm pacers. With the likes of Sakariya, Unadkat, and Mustafizur coming good, RR have dominated the powerplay phase of the ongoing IPL. The Royals have conceded at just 7.06 RPO in the powerplay which is the least for any team in this IPL. They take 25 balls on average to pick a wicket.
When we look at the MI top 4, it is evident that they are vulnerable against left-arm pacers. Rohit’s struggle against left-arm pacers is there for everyone to see. The moving ball makes it even harder. Rohit has given his wicket away to a left-arm pacer seven times since IPL 2018. This is some good news for RR considering the kind of form Rohit is in and the number of left-arm pace options they have.
So it is very important that RR get a good start with the ball. Powerplay wickets will be key and they should look to attack from ball 1 in the powerplay. The powerplay wickets are given emphasis here because RR have been the worst bowling team in the middle overs phase. They have conceded at a rate of 9.36 RPO which is the worst by any side in the ongoing edition.
The game plan for RR should be in such a way that they don’t let Rohit, their opposition’s in-form batsman to get set. They must target to get their struggling middle-order back into the middle as soon as they can.
Read DC vs KKR game plan here.
MI vs RR – How do you stop the MI middle order?
The Pandya brothers and Pollard have struggled so far. Pollard’s weakness against the short ball was very well exploited by the RCB pacers. Pollard has struck at a rate of 109 against short balls since 2020 and this has been his worst strike rate for any length. Morris should be the right man to exploit this.
Meanwhile, Hardik and Krunal have struggled to put off the slower deliveries. Both the batsmen have been dismissed thrice against the off-cutter this year.
Mustafizur has bowled 55 off cutters this season in which he has picked up 3 wickets. 55 off cutters are the most that have been bowled by a bowler so far in the tournament and it has been Mustafizur’s go-to weapon.
They have proven to be quite effective where he has given away 68 runs and has induced a false short percentage of 34.5 percent. This variation might come in very handy in tomorrow’s encounter against the hard-hitting Mumbai middle order.
Overall, the Royals have all the pace bowling resources to trouble the MI batsmen. Taking into consideration the form of the MI batsmen, RR must look to get rid of Rohit early in the innings and bowl more at the out-of-form middle-order batsmen. It might just be a matter of time for the MI middle order to return to their old ways, but RR have all that is required to keep them in check.