It holds the edge when it comes to recent head-to-head record, having won five of the last six matches against dominant Mumbai Indians. However, ahead of its clash against the defending champion, Rajasthan Royals will be hoping to make the most of its limited resources.

As if losing Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes to injuries wasn’t a big blow, the Royals will also miss the services of Liam Livingstone and Andrew Tye, who have pulled out due to COVID-related issues. The new captain-director of cricket combo of Sanju Samson and Kumar Sangakkara will be hoping to make the best of the four overseas cricketers - Jos Buttler, David Miller, Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman - at their disposal.

After IPL 2021, New Zealand cricketers may travel to UK for WTC final with Indian players  

More importantly, the team management has to ensure the recent departures coupled with disturbing events outside the bubble don't end up demoralising the domestic cricketers.

ICC T20I Rankings: Kohli retains fifth spot, Rizwan breaks into top 10  

Change of fortune

Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, will eye a spirited comeback after successive losses leading into a five-day break. Besides improving its mid-table position, the MI players would be keen to present captain Rohit Sharma with a victory as a gift on the eve of his birthday.

MI will be hoping that Hardik Pandya gets back into his groove. The hard-hitting batsman has been found wanting with oppositions successfully employing wide yorkers against him. Hardik’s inability to counter it has reflected in MI managing to win just two out of the first five games.

Typical to the MI reputation, the mid-season phase is where it will have to shift gears. It will hope that the new venue changes its fortune, starting Thursday.