As Mumbai Indians (MI) and Delhi Capitals (DC) eye a place in the final of IPL 2020, we take a look at major talking points ahead of the game.
The race for the playoffs came down to the final day in the league stage of Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. While Mumbai Indians were the first team to qualify for the playoffs, Delhi Capitals secured the second spot in the IPL 2020 table with a win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their final game. Both the sides now meet in the first qualifier on Thursday, with the winner securing a direct route to the final of the 2020 edition.
Delhi Capitals went one-up with their performance in this season in comparison to the previous year. In 2019, the DC finished third and were eventually knocked out in the Qualifier 2. However, a series of consistent performances in the opening stage of the season saw them enjoying a firm grip on the top-2 positions. In fact, they were at the top of the IPL table at the end of first-four weeks of the tournament.
The DC did falter towards the ending stage with four successive losses which saw them fall to third place, but they made amends with a dominating performance in the final match of the season.
Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, have been the most consistent performers in this season so far. With 18 points in 14 matches, MI finished at the top of the table. One of the biggest positives for MI was their success despite the absence of captain and opening batsman Rohit Sharma, who has been a key part of the side for years. Sharma was forced to sidelines with a hamstring injury but young wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan stepped up brilliantly in his absence as an opener.
Mumbai Indians will go into the game against Delhi Capitals as favourites, as they won both of their matches against the side far comfortably. However, as Rohit admitted after the defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday, T20 is a “funny game.”
We take a look at the key talking points ahead of the match:
Prithvi Shaw conundrum
The Delhi Capitals opener has been struggling with the bat of late. In his last six games for the side, Shaw has failed to breach the double-figure mark on five occasions.
Moreover, his troubles with outswing could be more prominent against Mumbai Indians as they boast of lethal swing bowler Trent Boult, who dismissed him in both the games this year. Shaw’s lack of foot movement made him an easy wicket for Boult and this is going to be a worry for the DC ahead of the all-important Qualifier 1.
Return of Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma’s absence raised significant speculations over his fitness but his return against Sunrisers Hyderabad remained lowkey, as he failed with the bat. The Mumbai Indians captain never looked settled in his short stay at the crease and the Capitals would be aiming to take advantage of his recent return.
Dhawan also mentioned about the same in the pre-match press conference. “Rohit is a very good player, and yes he hasn’t played many matches, so I’m not sure about his touch, and that means that we can definitely take advantage of it. My best wishes to him, but yes as opponents, we can take advantage of that for sure and make plans accordingly,” Dhawan had said.
Daniel Sams or Shimron Hetmyer?
Delhi Capitals brought Daniel Sams in for Shimron Hetmyer in the all-important clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday. While the move did make some sense due to the sluggish nature of the pitch, Sams conceded at 10 runs/over in his four-over quota, becoming the most expensive bowler for DC in the game.
His outing is likely to leave the Capitals management scratching their head. Shimron Hetmyer has also remained inconsistent throughout the tournament, but against an opponent like Mumbai Indians, it is unlikely that DC would opt to come out with a batsman short.
Bumrah, Boult vs Rabada, Nortje
It would be the battle of two of the fiercest pace attacks in the IPL this season. Jasprit Bumrah (23 wickets) and Trent Boult (20 wickets) have crushed batting orders with their lethal pace for Mumbai Indians. Boult has also found occasional swing throughout the tournament which has benefited the MI, while Bumrah – who started the tournament rather slowly, got into the groove and produced brilliant performances for the side.
For DC, Kagiso Rabada (26 wickets) and Anrich Nortje (19 wickets) began the tournament strongly, but inconsistencies in the batting order often made an impact on their performances towards the middle and closing stage of the league phase. In their last match of the league phase against RCB, however, Nortje – who made his name for his raw pace in this season – took three wickets, while Rabada took two as both made a comeback to form.