Royals hope to revive title defence
Humiliated in their tournament opener, Rajasthan Royals will hope to resuscitate their title defence while Mumbai Indians would seek to maintain their winning momentum when they meet in the second Indian Premier League here on Tuesday.
Led by the charismatic Shane Warne, the Royals started their IPL campaign on a disastrous note when last year's laggards Bangalore Royal Challengers humiliated them by 75 runs on the opening day of the event.
Chasing a moderate target of 134, the Rajasthan outfit were bundled out for mere 58, registering the lowest total of the IPL and the second lowest in the history of Twenty20 cricket.
Although there seems no worry in Rajasthan Royals bowling department with Dimitri Mascarenhas, Munaf Patel and Warne leading from the front, their batting looked in complete disarray.
Comeback man Graeme Smith and last year's find Swapnil Asnodkar failed to make any impact up front, and although Tyron Henderson, Yousuf Pathan and young Ravindra Jadeja got starts, they were unable to capitalise on it.
The Jaipur-based team, however, can take heart from history. Last year too, Warne's men lost their IPL opener before going on to win the title.
But to make that happen, their batting line up will have to pull up their socks, particularly in the absence of last edition's most valuable player Shane Watson and useful Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal.
Warne felt let down by his batsmen but the spin legend sounded optimistic about bouncing back strongly.
"It is pretty disappointing. As champions we wanted to impose ourselves. We were exceptional in bowling and fielding but batsmen could not do well. Shot selection was really bad. I think the top 3-4 batsmen could shown sensibility and played sensible shots. But I promise to come back strong," he said after the defeat against Bangalore.
On the other hand, the Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians will be hoping to maintain a clean slate tomorrow and they have good reasons to be confident ahead of the tie. Tendulkar himself is in ominous form and led the team from the front in Saturday's win over Chennai Super Kings.
Explosive Sanath Jayasuriya and talented Shikhar Dhawan all looked good with the bat. Abhishek Nayar has already proved that he doesn't care for the opponent's reputation and if JP Duminy discovers his form, it would spell doom for the Royals.
Like their batsmen, Mumbai Indian bowlers, led by Zaheer Khan, looked impressive. Apart from Zaheer, Lasit Malinga is still a dangerous customer to deal with, while Harbhajan Singh proved he can spin web around any batting order.