Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals, Abu DhabiPro Tip:Expect a shared team effort from Mumbai and the experienced players from the Royals to performOur XI: Jos Buttler, Quinton de Kock, Steven Smith, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Jofra Archer, Rahul Tewatia, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Trent BoultSubstitutes: Hardik Pandya, James Pattinson, Sanju Samson, Shreyas GopalNOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.Player availability: All players are available for selection.Captain: Jos ButtlerButtler still hasn’t really fired so far in the tournament but on a fresh wicket in Abu Dhabi and against a team he has played well in the past, he should be backed. Since 2018, Buttler has twice opened the innings against Mumbai, having hit 89 and 94 not out on those occasions.Vice-captain: Quinton de KockDe Kock finally found some form against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Sharjah, where he hit 67. He likes pace on the ball and the Royals will provide him just that upfront. De Kock has gone at a strike rate of 130.90 in the powerplay in the IPL since 2019. Though he has faced only 20 balls from Jofra Archer, he strikes at 155 against him.Hot PicksSteven Smith: Smith has had a couple of failures off late but you expect the Royals’ captain to get back to scoring big runs soon. Since 2019, Smith has scored 15.27% of the Royals’ runs. He also has the most number of fifty-plus scores – five – in the IPL since 2019 for his side.Kieron Pollard: Pollard has been constantly used as the sixth bowler by Mumbai. With the bat, given the Royals’ worry when it comes to death bowling this season, Pollard should capitalise and get quick runs in the slog overs again.Jofra Archer: While the Royals’ other bowlers have gone for runs in the tournament, Archer has done no harm to his reputation. He has picked up four wickets in as many games at an economy of just 6.75 runs an over. Archer can also add value with the bat by smashing the ball and accumulating crucial runs.Differential PicksTrent Boult: Boult has been consistently picking up wickets for Mumbai at a very good economy. For someone who bowls both in the powerplay and at the death, his economy rate this tournament is a commendable 8.12 to go with a strike rate of 14.5.Rahul Tewatia: Tewatia bowls a few overs every game and also bats in the top six. His ability to pick up wickets as well as score quick runs could make a difference in the result. He has picked up four wickets so far in the tournament at a strike rate of 15.Alternate ScenariosArcher remains a good candidate as vice-captain given it will be a fresh wicket in Abu Dhabi and also the fact that he has a good record against Mumbai so far.Given the Royals’ top order has been inconsistent off late, if they bat first, Kieron Pollard can be replaced with either of Tom Curran or Mahipal Lomror, as Pollard may not get to bat if the Royals post a sub-par total.The Royals are likely to play two legspinners again, along with the left-arm orthodox bowler Mahipal Lomror. If Mumbai bat second, left-hand batsman Ishan Kishan may not face enough balls against them; but if they bat first, pick him ahead of a Mumbai bowler.
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