In the last three years, Daredevils have languished at the bottom of the points table but this season they find themselves ahead in the table than Mumbai, who they take on at the Feroz Shah Kotla today. Fresh from an inspirational 7-wicket win against giants RCB, Delhi are more than ready to lock horns with old foes Mumbai. The Mumbai Indians set-up has lost more games than they have won this season and will be desperate to add 2 points to their kitty.
Quinton de Kock mesmerized everyone with a gem of an innings the other night and will be keen to carry his form deep in the season. Karun Nair’s timely unbeaten half-century has ensured that there is quality in the middle order. Delhi just needs young guns Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson to fire which will further strengthen their batting line-up. The only disappointment for DD has been the form of Pawan Negi. Bought at an unreasonably high amount, Negi has not performed either with the bat or ball in the first three games. He must be feeling the pressure of vindicating his price tag which is a concern for DD as he lends balance to their side and is a crucial cog of their unit. Zaheer’s indifferent form is also bad news for Delhi. He started off well in the last game picking up the wicket of Gayle in the first over but leaked too many runs at the death. Given Zaheer’s fitness, he must look to bowl out himself up front or keep just one over for the latter part of the innings. He is someone who swings the new ball both ways and must look for wickets early on rather than trying to contain runs towards the end of an innings. Shami and Morris brought Delhi back in the last game courtesy some brilliant death bowling and will look to continue the good work.
Mumbai Indians problems lie in their batting order which changes almost every game. Rohit has opened and batted in the middle order. They have tried Hardik Pandya at No. 3 in a handful of games which meant Rayudu had to bat at No. 6. MI should keep things simple and stick to the formula which has worked well for them in the past. Someone like Rayudu should not bat any lower than No. 4 for his skill sets are not suited to bat in the lower middle order. Given Rohit’s success at the opening slot in international cricket, he should never be kept away from it even in franchise cricket. Krunal Pandya has been the find of the season for MI. He has contributed in both departments and provides balance to the MI XI. Another area of concern for Mumbai has been the form of Harbhajan Singh. ‘Bhajji’ as he is popularly known as, has completed his quota of 4 overs in just 2 out of 5 games this season. His economy rate of 8.87 in the season thus far has been poor and a shadow of his old-self. He needs to step up and show his class for Mumbai Indians needs him to fire in almost all games from here on. Runs from the big bat of Kieron Pollard in the last game is a good sign and Mumbai would want him to carry this form ahead in the season. McClenaghan, Bumrah and Southee have worked well as a team and will require to do the same again in this crucial encounter against DD.
Both teams are evenly matched and are coming off from resounding wins in their last game. No team likes chasing at the Feroz Shah Kotla so toss will be crucial. It has been a see-saw season for Mumbai thus far where they have been very inconsistent hence Delhi starts as favourites. They have all their bases covered and are looking very settled as a unit. Mumbai need to shrug the title of ‘slow starters’ and has to start winning games in order to keep their chances of defending their title alive.