The Rajasthan Royals (RR) take on Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Qualifier 2 match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Friday. The winner of the contest will move to the final and play against the Chennai Super Kings for the title.
The match will begin at 8:00 pm IST and will be telecast live on Sony Set Max channel.
After finishing third on the table, RR beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets in the Eliminator to set up a clash with MI in the Qualifier 2 match. They came into the tournament as underdogs but performed consistently well and beat some of the most fancied teams. Spot-fixing controversy has hit them hard, costing three of their players but they have bounced back strong under the leadership of its skipper Rahul Dravid in the previous match. Knowing that they are just a win away from moving on to the final, they will be keen to win the next match.
MI are in the Qualifier 2 by virtue of finishing second on the table. They come into the contest after conceding defeat to CSK by 48 runs in the Qualifier 1 match. They boast of stars, match winners and experienced players but they a vulnerable team having lost by big margins in the a few matches. They will be worried of batting collapse like it happened in the previous match. RR skipper Rahul Dravid has admitted that MI are a tough side with big names but Friday's match will be a tight one.
MI have 6-5 win-loss record against RR in 12 matches, one of which was washed out by rain. They won one match each this season.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson played winning knocks in a few games. They will be expected to convert good start to big scores in this all-important game against MI. It was Brad Hodge who guided the team home in the previous match by scoring 54 from 29. They also have young guns like Stuart Binny and Sanju Samson who can add some quick runs for the team.
Despite losing three of its bowlers in view of suspension in connection with spot-fixing scandal, the bowlers restricted SRH to 132 in the previous match. This will boost their confidence. James Faulkner has been performing consistently well this season, including two five-wicket hauls this season. They also have Kevon Cooper, Pravin Tambe, Watson, Binny, Hodge and Siddharth Trivedi in the bowling attack.
Mumbai Indians: Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who missed the last three matches due to an injury, is expected to return to the team for the Qualifier 2 match. Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik are in good form this season, and their performance will be vital on Friday too. Sharma started off the tournament on a good note but scored only one half-century in the last 11 matches. Kieron Pollard can be destructive, which he displayed in the match against SRH earlier this season. They also have Dwayne Smith and Ambati Rayudu in the line-up.
Mitchell Johnson's performance this season is outstanding though he failed to take any wicket in the previous match. He will be expected to pick up wickets early and pushed the opponents to the back foot. They also have Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abu Nechim, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Rishi Dhawan in the bowling attack.
RR are a tough team not because they have big stars but for being able to put up their acts together. However, MI are expected to bounce back after the loss in the previous match. Mumbai franchise come to the contest as favourites.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Menaria, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Dishant Yagnik, Fidel Edwards, Harmeet Singh, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Kumar Boresha, Kushal Janith Perera, Owais Shah, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Shukla, Sachin Baby, Samuel Badree, Sanju Samson, Shane Watson, Shaun Tait, Shreevats Goswami, Siddharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny, Vikramjeet Malik
Mumbai Indians: Ricky Ponting (captain), Abu Nechim Ahmed, Akshar Patel, Aditya Tare, Aiden Blizzard, Ambati Rayudu, Amitoze Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Harbhajan Singh, Jacob Oram, Jalaj Saxena, James Franklin, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson, Munaf Patel, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Phil Hughes, Pawan Suyal, Pragyan Ojha, Rishi Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Suryakumar Yadav, Sushant Marathe, Yuzvendra Singh Chahal