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After four defeats in the first five matches of the UAE leg of IPL 2021, the Mumbai Indians (MI) have no choice but to win both their remaining games and win them convincingly in order to have a strong chance of making the IPL 14 playoffs. That is because they are currently 7th in the points table and below the two teams with the same number of points as them (10) due to an inferior net run-rate. And they must begin their final dash to the finish with a win against the Rajasthan Royals (RR), who also find themselves in a similar position. But, MI’s task will not be easy by any means because RR head into this game after thrashing table-toppers Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and hence, they will be high on confidence.

Also read: ‘He’s just got everything’: Michael Vaughan says India allrounder is ‘perfect T20 cricketer’

Moreover, skipper Rohit Sharma has still not been able to find a winning combination but they will be motivated after losing out by a small margin against the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the last outing. Therefore, Sharma may be tempted to field the same playing XI unless he makes one change in the bowling order. Let’s find out.

Here is a look at MI’s Predicted XI vs RR:

1) Rohit Sharma (C): After the previous game, skipper Rohit Sharma admitted that his team’s batting performance, including his, just hasn’t been up to the mark. Sharma has scored 43 and 33 in UAE so far and would look to hit back at the criticism with a big score.

2)Quinton de Kock (WK): The Proteas cricketer’s problem of not being able to convert his starts continue to hurt MI’s chances. He has been one of their best batters in the ongoing edition, without a doubt, but one big innings from him might prove to be the difference.

3) Suryakumar Yadav: Big teams and champions teams back their players and their guys repay the faith. This holds true for SKY, who, after a string of poor scores, spent some quality time in the middle against DC in Sharjah and hit a team-high score of 33. MI know he’ll once again be crucial in that middle-order.

4) Saurabh Tiwary: The southpaw did not fire in the last game but has impressed whenever he has come to out bat previously. With two 40+ scores and a match-winning knock against PBKS, he holds a lot of promise and Rohit knows that.

5) Kieron Pollard: The big-hitting West Indies batsman, after an improved show against Punjab Kings, could not get going against DC. But knowing how dangerous a player he is, RR will be wary of this threat.

6) Hardik Pandya: He hit an impressive 40 against Punjab and showed promise during his cameo of 17 against Delhi. Once again, MI would bank on him to provide the team a strong finish.

7) Krunal Pandya: He is finally among the wickets and has bowled well in the powerplay. While he needs to keep that going, it’s about time that Krunal starts giving the desired output with the bat.

8) Nathan Coulter-Nile: With a spell of 1/19 in his 4 overs, the Australian quick was Mumbai’s best bowler in the previous match. He played an important role in helping MI stretch the encounter to the final over.

9) Jayant Yadav/Rahul Chahar: Rohit brought in Jayant Yadav in place of Rahul Chahar, who hasn’t done much wrong for MI this season. In fact, he has been one of their best bowlers. Since Jayant went for 31 in his 4 overs, Rohit might be tempted to recall Chahar.

10) Jasprit Bumrah: The name is enough. His mention is enough validation for his place in the playing XI. MI’s in-form pace bowler continues to remain an indispensable member of this franchise.

11) Trent Boult: In a low-scoring encounter in which MI were defending, Boult bowled extremely well to return with figures of 1/24 in his four-over spell. The side will be out in Sharjah once again and this New Zealand pacer will hold key in the powerplay and at the death.

Our MI’s Predicted XI vs RR: Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jayant Yadav/Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult

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