Mumbai Indians will take on Delhi Daredevils in match number 47 of the Indian Premier League (IPL), in what will be an extremely crucial contest for the hosts at their adopted home in Vizag. Mumbai will go into the match having tasted back-to-back defeats in their last two matches. With six wins from 12 games, Mumbai will need to win both their remaining games to keep their hopes of defending the title alive. The task will be a tough one for Mumbai since their run-rate has taken a severe beating in the wake of being handed two comprehensive defeats in the last two matches. Thus, Mumbai do find themselves in a must win situation of sorts.
Delhi are in a slightly better position, with six wins from 10 matches, placing them at number top half of the points table as of now. After a couple of hiccups, they recovered to overcome table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in what was an impressive performance. Although Delhi began the tournament on a disappointing note, they have grown in confidence and strength from there on. Some chopping and changing in a few matches has definitely affected their momentum. Overall though, they have won more than they have lost, which means that they have definitely been among the better sides in the event.
If Mumbai look back at their performance in recent matches, they will definitely rue the lack of success of their batsmen. Rohit Sharma may not admit it, but deep down he knows that the team heavily depends on him. He will thus be keen to fire, and keep his side in the hunt for the title. Rohit will seek support from the other batsmen though. Parthiv Patel and Ambati Rayudu must score runs consistently. One wonders whether the experiment with Unmukt Chand at the top will continue. Also, in Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard, they have two big-hitters, who will be expected to fire.
Delhi, on the other hand, will be watching out for the fitness of their skipper Zaheer Khan. The veteran left-arm seamer was only just coming into his own when he got injured. Delhi will hope he is fit for the game against Mumbai. Among others, leggie Amit Mishra has done a wonderful job, and will look to continue to do the same. Nathan Coulter-Nile and Imran Tahir, if they play, are the other key names in the bowling department, who will have to perform well.
Looking at Delhi's batting, a lot will again depend on Quinton de Kock, who has displayed excellent form this season. In Rishabh Pant, de Kock has found a dangerous opening partner. Sanju Samson and Karun Nair are the other important names in the batting order. At the same time, Delhi will also be looking forward to all-round efforts from Chris Morris and Carlos Braithwaite. Against a hurt Mumbai, who will be keen to fight back, they could face a tough challenge.
--By A Cricket Analyst