Champions need to return to form

One thing that many people wouldn’t have thought by the time Match 24 of the Vivo Indian Premier League rolled around was that the current champions the Mumbai Indians would have lost more games than they have won. But this is the situation they find themselves in as they go in to the sixth round of matches and take on the Rajasthan Royals in Delhi in the first of Thursday’s double header.

Best in the world?

Here in the UK, during the India vs England white ball series this winter, many TV pundits and commentators claimed that the Mumbai Indians would beat most international sides in T20 cricket and it is safe to say that ever since those sorts of comments have been bandied around, the form of the Mumbai men has dipped significantly. So much so that if results go against them in the next few days, and they don’t beat the Royals they could find themselves closer to the bottom of the table than the top.

It was a nine wicket defeat last time out as the reigning champs took on the Punjab Kings. Rohit Sharma (63) scored just under half of the teams runs as they scrambled their way up to 131. The bowlers didn’t really have much margin for error trying to defend such a small total and when they didn’t take any early wickets, the game was out of their reach. Just the one wicket for Rahul Chahar as MI didn’t have a lot to celebrate in the field.

They will be wary of the wounded animal in the Rajasthan Royals who might be a few players down, but will be looking to string together some good results.

Back on the bandwagon

A crucial win last time out for the Royals will hopefully kick start their 2021 IPL as they sunk the Kolkata Knight Riders in to deeper peril. It was the money man Chris Morris who set the victory up, taking four wickets from his four overs to restrict KKR to just 133 from their 20 overs.

It was another failure at the top of the order for Jos Buttler who hasn’t looked himself so far this tournament. But a captains knock of 42* from Sanju Samson helped to guide the Royals home with six wickets and seven balls in the tank. They will have to up their game again if they are going to take the points off the Mumbai Indians, but they look to be in a far better place than they were this time last week.

Match Tip

With Boult and Bumrah bowling to an out of nick Jos Buttler, I would fancy Mumbai to get off to slightly stronger start.

That’s why I am backing the Mumbai Indians to have a higher opening partnership in the match between the Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals at 1.72 with Betway.

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