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MI, the defending champions, got off to a horrendous start, losing six of their first eight matches. However, they have fought back brilliantly with three successive wins and as things stand, the Rohit Sharma-led franchise has 10 points from 11 games.
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On the other hand, the Royals have won their previous two contests to stay in the hunt and have an identical number of points from as many games as MI, but trail the former on account of an inferior net run-rate. In effect, both teams clash for two very crucial points today, a loss of which may leave their destinies in the competition hanging by the thread.
Mumbai have been well served by a host of players, with Suryakumar Yadav justifying his promotion to the top of the order in some style. The local lad leads his team’s run tally with 435 runs at an average of 39.5 from 11 outings. He has cracked four half-centuries and his partnership with Evin Lewis has been one of the key features of Mumbai’s fightback. The West Indian, although inconsistent, has notched up 265 runs in 10 games at an average of 26.5.
Skipper Rohit has managed to accumulate a modest 267 email@example.com including two half-tons in 11 games, and his team have won whenever he has fired this season. The young wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan, who has enjoyed the backing of the team management, featuring in all the 11 games, was in ruthless form in the previous game against Kolkata Knight Riders, lighting up the Eden Gardens with a 21-ball 62. He has scored 238 runs @ 26.4 thus far. Allrounder Hardik Pandya, who was mediocre in the initial stages, has begun showing why he is rated so highly, and a lot of the credit for MI’s resurgence goes to him. He has claimed 16 wickets and is locked in a contest for the Purple Cap with Kings XI’s Andrew Tye. The swashbuckler has also contributed with the bat, scoring 188 runs at an average of 31.
The Royals, on the other hand, will be banking on the fireworks of English recruit Jos Buttler, who guided them to victory over Chennai Super Kings on Friday in Jaipur. He was unbeaten on 95 and helped his side cross the line with one ball to spare. He has already amassed 415 runs at an average of 46.1 and an impressive strike rate of 149.28.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane, though, has struggled for form lately and has recorded scores of 4, 9, and 5 in his previous three knocks.