Mumbai face bogey team at bogey ground

Big picture

For a change, Mumbai Indians have started strongly and the Delhi franchise finds itself at the top half of the points table- no.2 to be precise. There’s actually nothing but net run-rate separating Delhi Capitals and Mumbai.

Capitals have won three on the trot on the road, but have won just one out of three games at the Feroz Shah Kotla so far. That solitary win was down to Kagiso Rabada’s scorching yorkers in a Super Over last month. However, they now have a great chance to score some points at home. The Delhi franchise has won six out of nine IPL games against Mumbai at Kotla.

Both sides have been prolific with the ball at the death, Capitals more so with Rabada bowling nearly 50 % of his overs in this phase. All told, the South African quick has bowled 15 overs in the death, claiming 13 wickets at an economy rate of 8.6. But, there are some concerns in the batting line-up. Colin Ingram’s return to South Africa on paternity leave has left Capitals scrambling for a finisher. The other Colin – Munro – flickered briefly at No. 3 against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday and the onus is now on the bowling allrounders Chris Morris, Axar Patel and Keemo Paul to crank up the tempo with the bat.

Mumbai have a top finisher in Hardik Pandya, who has taken his six-hitting to an all-new level in IPL 2019, but his elder brother Krunal has struggled – both with ball and bat – this season.

In the news

It remains to be seen if new-dad Ingram has rejoined the Delhi squad. If the South African continues to be unavailable Munro will get another game. Meanwhile, Karnataka left-arm spinner J Suchith has stepped in as replacement for the injured Harshal Patel

Previous meeting

Rishabh Pant clubbed 78 off 27 balls – 70 of those runs came in boundaries – to give the rebranded Capitals their opening win.

Likely XIs

Delhi Capitals: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Colin Munro, 4 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Chris Morris, 7 Keemo Paul, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Amit Mishra, 11 Ishant Sharma

Mumbai Indians: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Krunal Pandya, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Jason Behrendoff, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Strategy punt

  • Shikhar Dhawan has cracked Jasprit Bumrah for 69 runs off 46 balls without being dismissed in T20 cricket. So, it makes sense for Mumbai to hand the new ball to Jason Behrendoff and Lasith Malinga, and hold back Bumrah for Pant. Bumrah has dismissed Pant three times in six IPL innings while conceding only 26 runs off 24 balls. No other bowler has dismissed Pant as many times as Bumrah has in the IPL.

  • Capitals should try to make sure Chris Morris gets a crack at Kieron Pollard. Their head-to-head reads 23 runs off 22 balls plus one wicket.

Stats that matter

  • In a way, Pant’s patchy form at home has mirrored Capitals’ patchy form at home. At Kotla this season, Pant has managed only 41 runs in three innings at a strike-rate of 117.1 as opposed to 204 runs in five innings at a strike-rate of 174.4 on the road.

  • Watch out for Malinga’s offcutter. He has picked up four of his seven wickets this season with that variation.

  • Mumbai have a win percentage of 30 at Kotla – their lowest at an away venue in the IPL.

  • Rohit Sharma needs 12 runs to become only the third Indian after Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli to 8000 runs in T20 cricket.

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