The clash between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) becomes a straight knockout in terms of making it to the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 playoffs. MI are currently in the seventh position while RR are just one place above them.
In the past, MI have gone on to make it to the top four and have also clinched titles after being in improbable positions and former England batsman Mark Butcher reckons they have what it takes to pull a rabbit out of the hat once again.
“They have let it very late this time. You look at the squad they have at their disposal, it is very difficult to work out how they should manage to find themselves in this position. They haven’t been able to get any run of form going and it’s costing them dearly,” Butcher said on Cricket.com’s Man vs Machine.
“They have pulled rabbits out of the hats before. It’s in the feature of their success in the IPL. Their fans would be confident that they can beat these two teams – Rajasthan Royals – they took them down in April. They would also think Sunrisers are there for the taking as well. It’s simply a case of concentrating on the job in your hands. No point worrying about ifs and buts. Win this one and the next one. Get two points on the board and then worry about the net run-rate,” he added.
Speaking on why MI have struggled this season, Butcher reckons that the Indian players have not come to the party as they have in the past.
“If all your eyes are turning towards Quinton de Kock at the top and if all eyes are turning towards Trent Boult as a wicket-taker in the powerplay, then you’ve got a problem. Mumbai Indians' success has been built around the fact that they haven’t looked to overseas players to win them the tournament. They have great overseas players, but the Indian players have come to the party and done the job,” Butcher opines.
“Rohit Sharma hasn’t made the runs you’d expect him to make. Yes, he’s a brilliant captain. Yes, he’ll probably become India’s T20I captain in the near future. But they need runs from him. Ishan Kishan has found himself out of the team, such has been his form. Contribution from Indian players is just as important, in fact more important when it comes to winning IPL and qualifying than anything else,” he further adds.
RR, on the other hand, are coming off the back of an emphatic victory of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Butcher feels that they would not want to tinker with their combination, even if it means Liam Livingstone sitting out once again.
“People won’t fancy Rajasthan Royals. They are not traditionally the glamour boys of the tournament like the Mumbai Indians are. So, they lose nothing by coming out and being ultra-aggressive in their approach against the championship-winning side,” Butcher, a veteran of 71 Tests, said.
“They might look at the surface before deciding if they can use Livingstone’s bits and pieces with the ball. If they just turned over table-toppers CSK with the team they played before I don’t see any reason they’ll change it this time,” he added.