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Can Mumbai Indians exorcise their playoff ghosts?

Notwithstanding serious doubts over injured Sachin Tendulkar’s availability, Mumbai Indians would look to exorcise their playoffs demons when they meet Rajasthan Royals — a team determined to redeem themselves after being rocked by the spot fixing scandal — at the Eden Gardens today for a place in the final.

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians players celebrate the wicket of Rahul Dravid during their match vs Rajasthan Royals at Wankhede Stadium last week. PIC/Atul Kamble

Over the years, despite having several superstars of world cricket in their ranks, Mumbai Indians have made it to the title round only once in 2010, but finished runners up. In the last two editions they were eliminated in the playoffs.

Mumbai led by skipper Rohit Sharma (534 runs) and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik (467 runs), have a very steady batting line up. On the bowling front, the Mumbai outfit has a very potent attack comprising the likes of Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson who between themselves have 39 scalps.

With the Eden wicket keeping low and affording turn, the formidable spin partners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha may well pose a threat to the Royals.

Sachin bowls at nets
Mumbai are hopeful of having a fit Sachin Tendulkar today. The batting legend has missed his team’s last three matches due to a wrist and hand injury.
“He has recovered well and we are very hopeful that he will be in for the game,” MI batsman Dwayne Smith said.

The batting maestro though, did turn up for the team’s net practice. After playing football with his teammates for some time, Tendulkar then turned out at the nets preferring to bowl. He bowled some medium pacers from a longish run up but later rolled his arm over dishing out leg and off breaks.

Rajasthan too are a formidable side galvanised by the likes of Shane Watson who single handedly can change the complexion of the game both with the bat and the ball. Skipper Rahul Dravid has led his team from the front scoring 428 runs with four 50s.

Rohit’s wishlist
> Sachin Tendulkar is fit to play
Kieron Pollard plays a cameo
Batters make amends after loss against CSK
Bowlers do not leak runs
Shane Watson fails to make an impact

Dravid’s wishlist
Watson takes Mumbai Indians apart
Ajinkya Rahane bats through the innings
Brad Hodge plays a match-winning knock again
James Faulkner bags a fifer
Pollard departs cheaply

Live on TV: MI vs RR on Set Max and Sony Six, 8pm

When they last met...

It was Tare all the way
Sachin Tendulkar failed to recover from his hand injury and Aditya Tare latched on to the opportunity like a lion pouncing on his prey.

Aditya Tare

The Mumbaikar scored a dazzling 59 in front of his home crowd to propel the hosts to 166 versus Rajasthan Royals.

In reply, Royals were in dire straits with the score reading 28 for four. The visitors could not recover from those early jolts and ended up 14 runs shy of MI’s total.  

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 166-8 (Aditya Tare 59; Shane Watson 2-30) beat Rajasthan Royals 152-7 (Brad Hodge 39, Dhawal Kulkarni 2-21, Mitchell Johnson 2-23) by
14 runs 

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