IPL 2019: Will Rajasthan halt Mumbai's winning march?

Mumbai Indians is coming off three wins in their last three matches while Rajasthan Royals will hope to forget its disappointing home game against Chennai Super Kings

Mumbai Indians prepare to host Rajasthan Royals coming off confident wins in their last three games.   -  PTI

For the first time in this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Mumbai Indians will play Rajasthan Royals at Wankhede stadium on Saturday.

With their previous matches riddled with nail-biting suspense and last-ball game changers,  both teams will look to wrap up proceedings quickly in the upcoming fixture.  

Mumbai Indians is arguably the stronger side coming into the match, having clinched a fascinating victory at home over Kings XI Punjab , while Rajasthan Royals will want to win after losing to Chennai Super Kings in Jaipur.

While the Royals have had a dismal season so far -- winning only one out of its six matches -- Mumbai has registered three consecutive victories after a disappointing start, to put its campaign back on track.

And at the iconic Wankhede, Rajasthan will have a mountain to climb against the confident home side. 

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The home team will once again rely on its West Indian recruits, Kieron Pollard and Alzarri Joseph.

In the team's previous outing against Kings XI Punjab, Pollard played a breezy knock of 83, while Joseph kept his cool to pick up two runs off the final delivery to seal a win for Mumbai.

After a dream debut -- bagging six wickets for 12 runs against Sunrisers Hyderabad -- Joseph has showed his temperament, batting lower down the order. The 22-year-old will hope to keep getting better as the tournament progresses.

In the previous fixture, a leg spasm pulled Rohit Sharma out of action for a few games. However, Zaheer Khan, Mumbai's director of cricket operations, has confirmed Sharma's availability for selection against the Royals.

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Sharma's return to action will not only put to rest any doubts about his fitness but also boost the Mumbai’s batting line-up, which also comprises Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and local lad, Surya Kumar Yadav.

Royals, which is reeling at the seventh spot, would be hoping to regroup after a devastating defeat against Chennai Super Kings.

While it would want its top-order batsmen to fire, the Rajasthan franchise will also find itself banking on its own West Indian, Jofra Archer.

The all-rounder had given Rajasthan Royals a chance to defend the total of 151 against Chennai with his neat spell. Both Archer and Royals would like to keep that going.

Despite having big names like Steven Smith, Ajinkya Rahane and Jos Buttler, Rajasthan's batting has struggled with consistency.

To make things worse for them, Mumbai Indians has death-overs specialist Jasprit Bumrah, who can swing things the host’s way.

With him, Jason Behrendorff and Joseph in the ranks, Royals will find their batting tested.

This hasn’t been a season to remember for Rajasthan. While its batting has been patchy, the bowlers too haven't been able to defend competitive totals. Pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni have been quite disappointing, while the spinners have been largely inconsistent.

With the tournament getting tougher, the team desperately needs to show some character.

Teams (from)

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jason Behrendorff, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Alzarri Joseph, Anmolpreet Singh, Siddhesh Lad, Ankul Roy, Evin Lewis, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ben Cutting, Ishan Kishan (wk), Aditya Tare, Rasikh Salam, Barinder Sran, Jayant Yadav.

Rajasthan Royals: Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Oshane Thomas, Liam Livingstone, Ajinkya Rahane (C), Sanju Samson (WK), Shubham Ranjane, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Aaron, Shashank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul Tripathi.