Revenge, play-off berth in Mumbai`s mind ahead of Royals clash
Mumbai: Still not assured of a place in the next stage of the ongoing IPL, Mumbai Indians would be hoping to book their berth in the play-offs with a win over out-of-contention Rajasthan Royals.
Though Mumbai are sitting pretty with 16 points from 12 games, they still need one victory out of their remaining two games to secure their place in the four-team play-offs, and the Sachin Tendulkar-led side would be eager to finish off the job tomorrow itself at the Wankhede stadium.
Mumbai cannot afford to wait till the last away league tie against Kolkata Knight Riders on May 22, incidentally the final round-robin game before the play-off phase begins on May 24.
But the Royals, out of running for the next phase with only 11 points ahead of their final game, would be equally eager to stop Mumbai from clinching the berth, which could lead to a no-holds-barred game between the two outfits.
The match would also provide Mumbai an opportunity to avenge their humiliating seven-wicket defeat against Royals in an away encounter in Jaipur last month.
In Jaipur, Mumbai`s strong batting line up choked and were restricted to a paltry 94 for eight, which the Royals overhauled losing just three wickets with 11 balls to spare.
And Tendulkar would be keen to reverse that result by leading from the front with the bat on a track which too is likely to assist the slow bowlers at the fag end of the season.
With Royals captain Shane Warne being let off with only a hefty fine following his public spat with Rajasthan Cricket Association secretary Sanjay Dixit, the decks have also been cleared for one final riveting battle on the field between the spin legend and batting maestro Tendulkar.
The packed gathering at the Wankhede Stadium will witness the leg-spin ace, who is retiring from all forms of cricket after the tie, confronting the champion batsman who would be smarting from the Warne retort against his comments about the pitch conditions in Jaipur after the previous engagement between the two teams on April 29.
In that match, Warne did not take his counterpart`s wicket, but did his bit by packing off danger man Rohit Sharma while fellow-spinners Ashok Meneria, who dismissed Tendulkar for seven, and Johan Botha bowled splendidly on a wicket tailor-made for slow bowling.