A confident Mumbai Indians will be up against a struggling Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. The three-time champions are on a roll after their registering a hat-trick of wins. The hosts will be eager to continue their winning momentum at their fortress. Meanwhile, Rajasthan on the other hand, have had a lacklustre campaign so far as they have only managed a single win in their six games as they struggle to rise from the seventh spot in points table. Mumbai will be upbeat after their three-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab in a last ball thriller on Wednesday while the 2008 champions will look to overcome their heartbreaking last ball four wicket loss against CSK.
Here's a look at some key factors which will make this a must watch clash of the weekend's first double header.
1. Battle of the hometown heroes: Both Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane started their cricketing career by representing Mumbai. In this clash, Sharma will be playing for Mumbai while Rahane will be leading the visiting team on his home ground. Therefore, it will be interesting to see which of these two Mumbaikars will gain the upper hand. Meanwhile, Sharma will be back in the team after having recovered from a muscle spasm which had prevented him from featuring in the contest against Kings XI Punjab.
2. Will Kieron Pollard come up with yet another blistering knock?: Kieron Pollard's bat has started to talk at the right time just when the tournament is getting to the crucial stages. The explosive West Indian all-rounder saved his team at a time when Mumbai were starring at the barrel. He scored a brilliant 31-ball 83 at a strike rate of 267.74 which included 10 maximums. His quickfire knock turned the tables on KXIP as Mumbai went on to register a thrilling win.
3. Will Jos Buttler provide a perfect start for the Royals?: Jos Buttler's hot and cold run with the bat continues. In the last couple of games, the English batsman has been getting starts but failed to convert them into big scores. Even in the last game, he played a cameo knock against CSK but was dismissed just when the Rajasthan innings was coming back on track. His dismissal resulted in the Royals losing their top order pretty early.
4. Head-to-head encounters: Mumbai Indians have an edge over the Royals when it comes to head-to-head encounters. MI have won 11 of the 21 matches that have been played between the two sides while Royals have only managed nine wins. Mumbai also have a 6-2 victory margin over Rajasthan while playing at home.
5. Alzarri Joseph's bag of tricks: Joseph has been a great find for MI. He had a dream IPL debut where he starred with the ball against SRH and registered the best bowling figures in IPL history with 6-12. The 22-year old then hit the winning runs for Mumbai on the last ball of the match against Kings XI Punjab.