Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Capitals, September 2 2021, 3:30 PM IST
Delhi Capitals’ four-match winning streak came to an end in their previous game against Kolkata Knight Riders. Even as they are only one win away from securing a berth in the Playoffs, they aren’t in the most comfortable of positions.
The Rishabh Pant-led side has three tough contests lined up – against an in-form Chennai Super Kings, on-a-roll Royal Challengers Bangalore and a desperate Mumbai Indians. Safe passage, and not top-two dreams, will be the immediate task on hand, especially given how they fared poorly towards the latter half of the competition last year.
First up against them are the defending champions, who cannot let even a single match slip away from them. Historically, Mumbai Indians have brought out their ‘A’ game when cornered in a must-win situation. But as Kieron Pollard mentioned after their win against Punjab Kings, that’s not a position they would like to be in. They have struggled even in Abu Dhabi – their home ground last season – with the pitches getting slower this year. Sharjah isn’t going to be any easier.
Delhi Capitals’ problems though begin with their injury list, with Prithvi Shaw and Marcus Stoinis unlikely to be available for the contest. It is an opportunity for MI to cash in on. The defending champions haven’t opened their cards as yet on what their playing combination would be like, sticking to a ‘depending on match-ups’ response, but Delhi are better equipped in the spin department, and that should hold them in good position.
The issue though for Delhi, like Mumbai Indians themselves, will be on their batters showing a better sense of responsibilty, as stated by assistant coach Mohammad Kaif. However, on a ground where big runs haven’t come this season, the quest to find the ‘winning total’ continues.
Head to head: Despite losing all their four matches against Mumbai Indians last season, Delhi Capitals have been fairly strong competition for the defending champions, winning 13 of the 29 contests between the two sides.
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
What to expect: In the first match at Sharjah this season, CSK easily chased down 156. However, since then, teams have struggled to score at the venue – with 139 being the highest score in the last six innings. The pitch is only expected to get slower.
• Mumbai Indians have been the worst performing side in the death overs this season. They have lost the most wickets (38), have the lowest average (11.58) and lowest run rate (8.68) in this phase.
• Mumbai Indians batsmen have lost the most wickets against spin and have the worst scoring rate and average against spin in IPL 2021
• Steve Smith also has the worst six-hitting percentage (2.19) in the last three years of IPL. The two other players who have hit less than 3 percent of their runs in sixes in this period are Shikhar Dhawan (2.76) and Ajinkya Rahane (2.75).
• Shreyas Iyer is the tenth worst (3.84). To add to their troubles, Rishabh Pant’s balls per sixes has gone up from 10.8 to 36.3 since 2020.
Who will win?
Mumbai Indians. I will go with Mumbai Indians because they have showed every time that they win when it matters the most. And after last match, the way MI’s middle order stood up, it shows that the team is back on the winning track.