Eyeing their fifth IPL trophy, Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians (MI) are all set to lock horns with Delhi Capitals (DC) in the first Qualifier of the tournament at Dubai on Thursday. The MI side, arguably the favourites to clinch the trophy this season, is stacked with several match-winners in their artillery.
Though they lost their last league-stage fixture against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) by a disappointing margin of 10 wickets, MI have been the most dominant franchise of this season. With nine wins in 14 games, they managed to finish first in the points table with 18 points. The Mumbai Paltan will have an upper hand in this encounter, considering they thumped DC in both their league-stage clashes.
Mumbai Indians will be relying on a strong top-order batting unit, led by the brilliance of two uncapped Indian players-- Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav. Along with Rohit, the Ishan-Suryakumar pair has also become an indispensable part of the MI contingent. Kishan (428 runs) and Suryakumar (410) will be hoping to deliver when their side needs them most.
The MI side also has Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya to slog some sixes in death overs of the innings. Talking about their bowling unit, Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah have been phenomenal for them. Bumrah (23 wickets) and Boult (20 wickets) will be aiming to dismantle the DC batting unit and steer MI to the final.
Capitals, on the other hand, will expect Shikhar Dhawan to rise to the occasion. After scoring consecutive tons, the left-hander registered a string of underwhelming performances. However, Dhawan regained his mojo by hitting a match-winning half-century in DC's crucial game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). He was also assisted by Ajinkya Rahane's 46-ball 60.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer has also notched up runs this season but in an inconsistent manner. He has scored 421 runs in 14 innings at an average of 32.38 with two fifties. Though Dhawan and Iyer have delivered with the bat, the form of Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant remains a concern for the Delhi franchise.
However, to conceal their batting flaws, DC have the pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Rabada, currently leading the Purple Cap race, has 25 wickets under his belt while Nortje has 19 scalps to his name.
Dream11 Playing XI: Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada