Back in their element at the business end of the tournament, defending champions Mumbai Indians will be firing on all cylinders against wooden spooners Delhi Daredevils in their bid to clinch a play-off berth in a must-win IPL encounter.
The cash-rich league is still alive and kicking with only Sunrisers Hyderabad (18 from 13 games), Chennai Super Kings (16 from 13 games) and Kolkata Knight Riders (16 from 14 games) having clinched play-off spots.
Statistically, four teams save Daredevils are still contention, with one play-off spot still up for grabs. In the mid-table clutter, Mumbai Indians are among the three teams who are at 12 points and fighting for a spot in the play-off.
Kings XI Punjab takes on Chennai Super Kings in the final round-robin match later in the evening at Pune today.
The performance in the past few matches is sure to have boosted the confidence of Rohit Sharma and his men. Mumbai had a topsy-turvy campaign so far as after a series of defeats early in the tournament, they were able to string in the victories when it mattered most. However Daredevils can be the banana peel and Mumbai Indians will be wary after CSK slipped in their penultimate game.
For DD, there is nothing but pride at stake, which makes the young team dangerous oppositions. The last time the two teams faced off, it was DD won by seven wickets win in a last-over thriller. Mumbai’s batsmen have been inconsistent so far with skipper Rohit Sharma scoring only 273 runs in this edition so far. It took a strokeful fifty from Kieron Pollard to help Mumbai post a competitive score against Punjab in their last match.
Suryakumar Yadav (500 runs) has been among runs after being promoted as opener while West Indian opener Evin Lewis (334) has had his moments on and off. Skipper Rohit’s poor form is a big worry for Mumbai. Apart from his match-winning knock against RCB, Rohit has failed to live up to the expectations of the fans and MI need him to contribute big time, so that Pollard and the Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal can provide the late charge if needed.
Jasprit Bumrah’s (16 wickets) sensational three wicket haul in the last match will give him a lot of confidence apart from his consistent show in most death over situations. Hardik (18 wickets and 233 runs) has been solid without being spectacular while Krunal (224 runs and 11 wickets) has again been impressive.
For Delhi, it has been another forgettable season as they looked below par throughout the tournament. Despite having legendary Ricky Ponting on board as coach or handing the captaincy in the middle of the tournament to young Shreyas Iyer, they have once again brought up the rear. However, a break of five days seemed to fresh them as they outclassed formidable Chennai by 34 runs to restore some pride. Vijay Shankar and Harshal Patel helped Daredevils post 162 for five and then leg-spinners Amit Mishra (2/20) and young Sandeep Lamichhane (1/21) managed to restrict CSK to 128 for six and Iyer would expect a similar effort from his team.
The Teams (From):
Delhi Daredevils: Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett, Junior Dala.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McLenaghan, Mustafizur Rahaman, Jasprit Bumrah, Akila Dananjaya, Ben Cutting, JP Duminy, Rahul Chahar, Sharad Lumba, Adam Milne, Siddhesh Lad, Md Nidheesh, Mohsin Khan, Anukul Roy, Pradeep Sangwan, Tajinder Singh, Aditya Tare, Saurabh Tiwary.