It is nail-biting times at the IPL for most teams. Two of them, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, come face to face at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

Though three teams — CSK, DC and RCB — have qualified for the playoffs with two matches for each to spare, the remaining slot is still up for grabs.

Four-way contest

Royals and MI are very much in contention; so are Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings; the latter, though, is the worst-placed among the contenders as it is on 10 points with just a game in hand.

While Royals are in familiar territory, the Mumbai men would be desperate to keep their reputation in tact.

For the tournament’s most successful team — with five titles — this has been a season of disappointment.

Rohit Sharma’s men could still dream of an unprecedented hat-trick of trophies, but they cannot afford to wait any longer to get their act together.

They need a few from their long list of match-winners — including Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult — to come up with major contributions.

Royals may have been handicapped in the second phase by the absence of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer, but they could take heart from the way Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shivam Dube, Evin Lewis and skipper Sanju Samson chased down a formidable target set by Dhoni’s men in their last match.


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