IPL 2022: Ashwin, Chahal hold the key for Rajasthan Royals

While Mumbai's record this year has been dismal, tonight's match against Rajasthan promises some fascinating contests, writes Ayaz Memon



Ravichandran Ashwin of the Rajasthan Royals bowls during a practice session. (BCCI)
Ravichandran Ashwin of the Rajasthan Royals bowls during a practice session. (BCCI)

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Sat 30 Apr 2022, 12:27 AM

Debate and discussion about Mumbai Indians’ woeful performances this season have been exhaustive and inconclusive. What could have gone wrong with the five-time former champions boggles the mind. The fact that MI haven’t won even one match out of eight this season would suggest that not one, but several things have gone wrong. Which raises the next question: what can MI do in the remaining games?

With a place in the playoffs ruled out, MI can play for pride. This is where Rajasthan Royals, the most impressive side so far after the Gujarat Titans, have to be wary tonight.

And if they hit some sort of momentum and form, the Rohit Sharma-led side can spoil the chances of teams that have looked good to make the playoffs.

Rajasthan Royals are among these teams. With 12 points from 8 matches and three wins on the trot, the Royals are a nudge away from making the cut. This season they have looked as ebullient, adventurous, focused and skilful as they did in the inaugural year of the IPL (2008) when the talismanic Shane Warne led them to an unexpected and memorable triumph.

But there’s no scope for laxity. Often in the past seasons, teams that looked good to make it to the last four crashed out after running out of steam. As the old saying goes, there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.

While Mumbai’s record this year has been dismal, tonight’s match promises some fascinating contests and challenges for major players in both teams.

Jos Buttler has been in rampaging form. Can he tame the redoubtable Jasprit Bumrah too? Trent Boult versus his former captain Rohit is another face-off which will be followed closely. They know each other’s game only too well, and this should be a sizzling duel, especially if Rohit gets a start.

What whets my appetite is Suryakumar Yadav and young Tilak Varma (MI’s find of the year) against spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Yadav is a creative stroke-player who loves to take the battle to the bowlers and Varma, belying his inexperience, has batted with aplomb against pace and spin alike.

Ashwin and Chahal, are canny and skilful and they thrive on mental battles to outthink batsmen. In preceding matches, they have tied up batsmen from most teams to give their team the winning edge.

With pitches increasingly helping slow bowlers, how these two players fare could be decisive in tonight’s match.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator


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