When Mumbai Indians met Delhi Capitals exactly 20 days ago, the contest was billed as the Match of Indian Premiere League (IPL) 2020. There is not much change as far as teams’ standings go—Mumbai are two points ahead of Delhi— but the buzz around them has.
The first of two games of October 31 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium is more important for Delhi. Beating Mumbai, who are sure of a place in the playoffs, and making it to the knockout stage of the tournament will not be easy but a win will ease the pressure brought upon by recent losses.
“Mumbai are a good team, they are a strong team and we know their past as well. I mean, they did so well in IPL. For us, what is important is to play to our strength, what we have been doing and it’s all about giving our best tomorrow,” said Ajinkya Rahane in a pre-match press conference.
Pace attack edge with MI
With an equally ferocious new-ball attack, there is still little that separates the two sides. Delhi’s Kagiso Rabada is the leading wicket-taker of IPL 2020 with 23 wickets and is ably backed by the fellow South African Anrich Nortje who has got 15 wickets, so far.
Mumbai’s pace duo of Jasprit Bumrah (20) and Trent Boult (17) is equally potent. But it is the third seamer that makes the difference and here Delhi is weak as neither Harshal Patel nor Tushar Deshpande can match Australian pacers James Pattinson—11 wickets at under 8 an over. Nathan Coulter Nile was to be the preferred third seamer but Pattinson has pleasantly surprised Mumbai with his consistency.
Without their captain Rohit Sharma, one of the best white-ball players in the world, in recent games, Mumbai have gone about their job without a fuss because everyone is chipping in—from openers like de Kock to Krunal Pandya.
Their batsmen have pummelled opposition into submission this season, with an ideal mix of Indian and overseas players. On the other hand, Delhi heavily depends on Shikhar Dhawan as many of their batsmen like Rahane, Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw have been struggling to hit the ball.
Will record and present form matter again?
Both the teams are at par, with Mumbai a shade better than Delhi in a head-to-head contest with 13 wins. It was the last match that put them in front but they are not a team that rest on their laurels.
“I’m not a part of that thinking group but if I had to take a guess, we’d like to try and finish in the top two that is our number one goal. So, the next game is also as important as the last one that is the goal ahead of us as of now,” Mumbai opener Quinton de Kock said ahead of the game.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Ishan Kishan, 2 Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Saurabh Tiwary, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Kieron Pollard (captain), 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 James Pattinson, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.
Delhi Capitals: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Shreyas Iyer (captain), 4 Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Harshal Patel, 8 Axar Patel, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Anrich Nortje
(Vimal Kumar has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. The author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide can be reached @Vimalwa on Twitter)Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of IPL 2020 here