IPL 2021: Match 51 – Strongest Mumbai Indians (MI) Predicted Playing XI against Rajasthan Royals (RR)

IPL 2021: Match 51 – Strongest Mumbai Indians (MI) Predicted Playing XI against Rajasthan Royals (RR)

MI need to win both their remaining matches and pray a few other things to fall their way to see themselves in the playoffs.

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

For the five-time IPL winners Mumbai Indians, being where they are in the points tally at this stage of the tournament is unfamiliar territory. In a usual scenario, this would be Mumbai’s time to perhaps finalize combinations for the playoffs, manage the workload pacers, give a couple of benchwarmers a go and keep a grip on the top-two spot, which gives an added chance of gaining entry in the IPL finale.

Thrice in the last four seasons have Mumbai finished at the numero uno spot in the tally, which includes two consecutive seasons of 2019 and 2020, when they also ended up winning the tournament. Their 2021 IPL journey has been a grave contrast: having lost seven of their 12 encounters, a qualification looks an unlikely proposition, let alone a top-two spot finish, and the management is busy with ‘if and but’ situations with calculators in hand.

Mumbai are placed second from the bottom in the tally, tied on 10 points with two teams – Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings – above them, separated by net run rate. The formula for a Mumbai qualification demands them to win both their remaining matches, but given the messy 2021 ride, that won’t be enough for them to qualify.

So, apart from winning both their remaining encounters, MI would pray that RR defeats KKR so they finish on 14 points, which would be two clear of RR and KKR’s 12, and also the net run rate does not come into the equation at any cost. They come against Rajasthan in Sharjah on October 5 before facing SRH in what is this season’s final league encounter.

Predicted Playing XI of Mumbai Indians (MI) for IPL 2021 Match 51:

Openers – Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock

Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock
Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock. (Photo Source: Twitter/IPL)

Neither Rohit Sharma nor Quinton de Kock got going against the Delhi Capitals in the previous encounter, which Mumbai lost by four wickets to complicate their qualification scenarios. Ever since the tournament resumption, both Rohit and de Kock have struggled to score fluently. While the sluggish UAE surfaces have played their role, they have not been in the finest of nicks either. In the previous game, Rohit was bounced out by Avesh Khan for 7 off 10; his partner de Kock fell to Axar Patel for 19 off 18.

Middle-order – Suryakumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Breaking a rut of single-digit scores, Suryakumar Yadav showed a glimpse of return to form during his 26-ball 33, including two sixes and as many fours, in the previous fixture. Yadav was the only MI batter after de Kock in MI’s top eight to strike above 100 on what was surely not a day for the batters, as was evident by Saurabh Tiwary’s 15 off 18 that had only a solitary boundary. Tiwary has been given a severely out-of-touch Ishan Kishan’s spot and is expected to retain his place.

All-rounders – Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya

Kieron Pollard
Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard. (Photo by IANS)

After a Player of the Match performance against Punjab Kings in Abu Dhabi, Kieron Pollard had a walkout against DC: he scored 6 off 9 and bowled just a solitary over of his skiddy medium-pace for no wicket. However, he was responsible for a brilliant run-out of Shikhar Dhawan.

Hardik Pandya’s bowling workload, which is zero, continues to be managed, and he would once again feature as a pure batter in the XI. Against DC, he was undone by an Avesh Khan corker for 17 off 18. Krunal, on the other hand, remained unbeaten on 13 off 15, while he once again bagged a powerplay wicket in his 2.1 overs that went for 18.

Bowlers – Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav

Trent Boult of Mumbai Indians
Trent Boult of Mumbai Indians. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Each one in Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Nathan Coulter-Nile returned with a wicket each against their names in the previous fixture but Coulter-Nile’s 1/19 stood out in terms of economy. The trio picks itself alongside off-spinner Jayant Yadav, whose inclusion was termed a “tactical move” by MI coach Zaheer Khan, given the abundance of left-handers in DC.

The case remains applicable for RR, who have left-handed openers Evin Lewis and Yashashvi Jaiswal, followed by – whoever plays – left-handed all-rounders Mahipal Lomror, Rahul Tewatia and Shivam Dube. (And Chetan Sakariya, should you wish to count him as a batter.)