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IPL 2013 - Rajasthan Royals vs. Mumbai Indians (15:30 BST)

Crunch Sports Staff in Cricket 17 April 2013
Rohit Sharma (credit: ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Rajasthan Royals take on Mumbai Indians later today in the 23rd game of the Indian Premier League 2013 season (15:30 BST start).

This top-of-the-table clash sees both teams start the day on six points. On net run-rate, Mumbai Indians are at the top while Rajasthan are third. 

Mumbai's only loss this season came at the hands of Bangalore in their first game, but since then they have looked invincible. They scored 148 but restricted pre-tournament favourites Chennai to 139 and smashed 209 against Delhi to win by 44 runs, before repeating that batting show against the Pune Warriors. 

Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma's excellent batting form has overshadowed the problems that Mumbai Indians have faced at the top of the order. While the openers have been involved in a couple of their games, Ricky Ponting's lack of runs has been a concern.

The option of dropping Ponting from the side is a non-starter because of the lack of captaincy options, so for now the side will need to hope for him to return to form. 

Lasith Malinga came back into the side after missing the first two games and has performed reasonably well. Fans are yet to see his best side, but with Mitchell Johnson picking a few wickets last game the bowling seems to be in good hands. 

The Rajasthan Royals do not boast of too many superstars in their line-up and the one that they have has misfired so far. Shane Watson has featured in only two of their games, and his lack of runs coupled with the fact that he hasn't yet resumed bowling because of his back issues, has not helped.

Fortunately for the Royals, the form of Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane has been of immense help, as were the runs that were chipped in by Sanju Samson last time out.

The advantage that the Royals have with their bowling is that the wickets usually get shared equally by the likes of S Sreesanth, Siddharth Trivedi, Kevon Cooper and James Faulkner. The flipside of that is that the pitches at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium will be pacy and bouncy, which should help the Mumbai Indians too. 

Mumbai lead 5-4 on the head-to-head.

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