Rahul Chahar of Mumbai Indians bowling during Match 39 of the Indian Premier League between RCB and Mumbai
Rahul Chahar of Mumbai Indians Image Credit: IPL

Defending Indian Premier League Champions Mumbai Indians take on Rajasthan Royals in a must-win game to keep their hopes alive for the play-offs in Sharjah. Both teams are locked on 10 points in the standings, with Rajasthan having a better run rate.

Mumbai have lost four out of their five games in the UAE leg, having only tasted victory against Punjab Kings, and they seem to be struggling more with their batting.

None of their batsmen have fired - especially their middle order of Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya who look totally out of form.

Last year, the trio were the top run-getters for Mumbai and dominated a magical IPL in the UAE, claiming their fifth IPL title in the process.

However, this year the table seems to have turned for them and their poor scoring has kept Mumbai way down in seventh in the standings, above only the dreadful Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Mumbai’s bowlers have done well - look at Jasprit Bumrah who has got 17 wickets this season - but spinner Rahul Chahar has struggled in the UAE leg, picking up only two wickets in four matches at an average of 50. This is hurting Mumbai. In their last match, Chahar was dropped for Jayant Yadav, but he too could not make an impact.

If Mumbai can get past Rajasthan in Sharjah, their last game is against bottom-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad, who seem to be low on confidence and just going through the motions of the tournament. Their bowling coach Shane Bond is confident that Mumbai have done it in the past and has the temperament to still make it to the playoffs by winning their next two games, provided KKR lose thier last game - which will give them 14 points and pave their way as the fourth team to the play-offs.

All the pundits believe that Mumbai, if they make it to the play-offs, will be hard to stop as they have the experience of playing and winning big matches, no wonder they are five times IPL Champions.