Millennium Post

Royals aim to fix Mumbai

Mumbai Indians would look to exorcise their IPL playoffs demons when they meet Rajasthan Royals, a team determined to redeem themselves after being rocked by the spot fixing scandal, at the Eden Gardens on Friday for a place in the final. Over the years, despite having several superstars of world cricket in their ranks, Mumbai Indians have made it to the title round only once in 2010, but finished runners up. In the last two editions they were eliminated in the playoffs.

Their opponents Rajasthan, who are battling spot fixing demons after three of their players including India international Sreesanth were arrested, have made it to the playoffs for the first time since becoming champions in the inaugural season of the cricketing extravaganza. Mumbai led by skipper Rohit Sharma (534 runs) and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik (467 runs), have a very steady batting line up. The big hitting Caribbean duo of Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard add further muscle to the firepower, with their ability to take the game away from any rival once they get cracking.

On the bowling front, the Mumbai outfit has a very potent attack comprising the likes of Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson who between themselves have 39 scalps. With the Eden wicket keeping low and affording turn, the formidable spin partners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha may well pose a threat to the Royals.

The Royals too are a formidable side galvanised by the likes of Shane Watson who single handedly can change the complexion of the game both with the bat and the ball. The burly Australian all-rounder so far has scored 537 runs including a blistering century from 15 innings and taken 12 wickets.

Going through tough times, skipper Rahul Dravid has led his team from the front scoring 428 runs with four 50s. Opener Ajinkya Rahane (467 runs) has been a revelation and along with Dravid and Watson forms the bulwark of the Royals batting.

Stuart Binny and Brad Hodge have made useful contributions and after the Australian’s match wining knock of 54 against Hyderabad in the eliminator, expectations from him have risen. Exciting young batsman Sanju Samson would also like to make himself count. Their bowling attack is led by James Faulkner (27 wickets) who is just a wicket behind purple cap holder Chennai’s Dwayne Bravo. West Indies’ Kevon Cooper (17 wickets), Siddharth Trivedi (11) and Watson have provided good support to the lanky Australian pacer.
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