As has been the case on every Saturday of the Indian Premier League so far since the opening day of the competition, we have a double header in the tournament with the first of the two matches seeing the Mumbai Indians taking on the Rajasthan Royals at Wankhede Stadium.
These two sides have made very different starts to the campaign and as a result one can play with freedom here and the other are under massive pressure to pick up a much sought after victory after a number of near misses.
Usually at this stage of the season we are wondering when the Mumbai Indians are going to come to the party, but they got the start date right this year and after a horrible performance in their opening match, they have won four of their last five and are beginning to look quite ominous as they hit the halfway mark of their campaign.
The bowling unit has been very strong for most of the season for the Mumbai Indians and it could well be a sign that they mean business that their batting has begun to fire. They chased down almost 200 with consummate ease in their last match and that was despite missing a couple of key batsmen. Mumbai are bubbling up nicely and we know they don’t wilt in the business end of the season.
It has been a tale of what might have been for the Rajasthan Royals so far this season. To be fair they look like a side who don’t have the right plans in place and who are trying to formulate something in running, but even then they have thrown away a couple of matches that they have been in complete control of. Their latest outing against the Chennai Super Kings was one of those.
Given that five sides are at least six points in front of them going into the weekend, this is a match that Rajasthan Royals can’t afford to lose if they are going to have a realistic chance of making the play-offs. As it is, with their England stars heading home in a matter of days, they are up against it anyway. They need to release the shackles, play with freedom and then be street smart down the stretch.
Mumbai Indians will hope to have their captain Rohit Sharma back available at the top of the order but the vibes are that he could miss out on this one. Lasith Malinga is another waiting in the wings. He could replace Alzarri Joseph.
Rajasthan Royals just have to be brave now and drop Steve Smith. He might be their second top scorer but his 110 strike rate isn’t going to get the job done. Ashton Turner is waiting in the wings and should have a bigger effect.
I get the feeling there is a really big performance coming out of the Rajasthan Royals and it might just be the perfect batting track of the Wankhede that brings it out of them but if we’ve learnt anything from the last few days it is that we can’t be betting on the match outcome here and you need to have a lot of hair to start with if you back the Royals and want some left as they will make you pull most of it out.
With that in mind I’ll use my hunch of a big Rajasthan outing to another use and take the over in the boundaries line. It is at 42.5 and there have been boundary counts of 59, 40 and 52 on this ground so far. The 40 was when Chennai stopped batting at halfway so there would have been a fair few more there too. These two sides have boundary hitters in their ranks and probably only one truly safe bowler. I’ll play the over here.
WON – Back Over 42.5 boundaries for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with William Hill
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