To the Delhi Capitals, the Mumbai Indians must feel like the final hurdle that they always stumble upon. Rishabh Pant’s team have been improving consistently for the last few seasons and are no longer the wooden spoon contenders but each time they come up against the team from Mumbai, they seem to falter.
They met up four times in IPL 2020 and on each occasion, MI came out on top by a comfortable margin.
Today, as they clash in Chennai, DC will hope to get their act together against a MI batting line-up that hasn’t quite fired yet.
Delhi come into the match after beating Punjab Kings by six wickets at the Wankhede Stadium while Mumbai have recorded back-to-back victories by defending low totals.
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma has got starts and he would be keen to convert it into a big one and so would be Quinton de Kock. MI have the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and his brother Krunal, who can pummel any attack into submission on their day, but they are yet to fire on all cylinders.
After the last game, Rohit had conceded that his team “can bat a little better in the middle overs.”
The Mumbai bowlers, led by pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, have been splendid in the last two games when they successfully defended low scores of 150 and 152 respectively.
|Matches||MI wins||DC wins|
Strike bowlers Bumrah (3 wickets) and New Zealander Trent Boult (6 wickets) have been exceptional at the death. Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, whom bowling coach Shane Bond described as a “wicket-taking bowler”, has grabbed seven wickets in the last two games.
Another important cog in the wheel is left-arm spinner Krunal, who would be itching to give his team breakthroughs. Mumbai played Adam Milne in the previous game but considering the nature of the pitch, they could be tempted to bring in off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who played the 2020 final against the same opposition.
Meanwhile, for Delhi Capitals, the biggest positive has been the form of Shikhar Dhawan, who is the leading scorer so far in the tournament with 186 runs.
Dhawan and young Prithvi Shaw form a lethal opening combination, but the Mumbaikar needs to convert his starts into big scores. Delhi opted for Australian Steve Smith on Sunday but as they are next playing on the slow Chepauk track, they might go back to Ajinkya Rahane, who is looking better suited for such tracks.
Skipper Rishabh Pant has the ability to take any attack to the cleaners. The DC team management would be hoping that the top-order fires in unison against the defending champions, to whom they had lost in the final last year.
DC also possess quality all-rounders in Marcus Stoinis and Lalit Yadav, who would be keen to play their roles well. Their pace attack is led by South African Kagiso Rabada and Chris Woakes, and the two have been impressive so far. They have an additional option in Anrich Notrje, who has also joined the squad.
Delhi played four pacers in the game against Punjab, but in Chennai, they could play more spinners as the track is conducive for the slower bowlers.
They have options in the experienced Amit Mishra, Pravin Dubey and new recruit Shams Mulani, who can complement Ravichandran Ashwin.
Last season saw MI win all their four matches, including the final, against DC.
The first match was the closest one. DC, batting first, scored 162/4 but Mumbai, thanks to fifties by Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav, were always in control of the chase and won by 5 wickets with 2 balls remaining.
The second match didn’t go to plan at all for DC. They were restricted to just 110/9 in their 20 overs and then watched MI reached the target with 34 balls to spare. Nothing went right for them. But they managed to make the post season.
The results didn’t go their way though. In Qualifier 1, DC once again stumbled badly. MI, batting first, put 200/5 on the board but DC struggled to reach 143/8 while chasing. A 57-run defeat.
But Delhi picked themselves up after the defeat once again and made it to the final. Batting first, Shreyas Iyer’s team made 156/7 but then watched MI seal their fifth title after winning the match by 5 wickets with 8 balls to spare.
Delhi clearly won’t have the psychological edge going into the game but that is something Ricky Ponting would have worked very hard to overcome. A new season is a chance to forget all that has happened in the past and that is exactly what DC will be looking to do.
Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (capt/wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shams Mulani, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan, Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddarth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Aniruddha Joshi.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt), Adam Milne, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Arjun Tendulkar, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, James Neesham, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Marco Jansen, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Quinton De Kock (wk), Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Yudhvir Singh.
Match starts at 7.30 PM.
With inputs from PTI
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