(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
Published: Sat 21 May 2022, 12:11 AM
Last placed Mumbai Indians stand between Delhi Capitals and a place in the play-offs. Royal Challengers Bangalore's win over top-placed Gujarat Titans (to the surprise of many) — on Thursday night, has made it imperative for DC to win on Saturday night. This would bring them level with RCB on 16 points, but a superior Net Run Rate will see DC through.
Given Mumbai's pathetic form this season, the prospect of the Capitals winning must be considered high. Needless to say, such projections are subject to the fickle nature of T20 cricket. The best teams can come a cropper if they don't raise their performance in a key match.. DC showed excellent commitment in winning their previous match against Punjab Kings, defending a modest 159, but there were times in the match when they looked vulnerable.
This came through more in the batting than bowling. David Warner could be considered unlucky that he was dismissed on the first ball of the match, but DC stuttered after reaching 100 in the 12th over. It was a perfect launch pad for the likes of Mitchell Marsh, Rishabh Pant and Rovman Powell to take the score to around 180. But Pant and Powell both fell cheaply, leaving Punjab a gettable target in the chase of which they stumbled badly.
DC need to guard against not actualising their potential. But for makeshift opener Sarfaraz Khan playing a good hand at the top and Marsh holding the innings together, they would have finished with a terribly below par score and paid the price.
Mumbai, although in the doldrums, can be mentally tougher in exploiting such situations, more so in a nothing to lose scenario where there is no pressure on them at all. Also, Jasprit Bumrah is bowling at his best and Daniel Sams has shown wicket-taking ability consistently in the past few games. Leg-spinner Mayank Markande, who has sat out most of the season, was among the more promising leg spinners in the country and, on pitches that are showing some fatigue, can be a threat. Mumbai's attack is not to be sniffed at.
Neither is the batting, in fact. Tilak Varma has been the most exciting young batting prospect this season, and Tim David has revealed the big-hitting expertise that won him such a fancy price in the mega auction. He's been clouting monster sixes with abandon!
Delhi's bowling was superb in the last match, Anrich Nortje working up great pace, Shardul Thakur bringing his rich experience of Indian pitches to deal deadly blows just when it appeared Punjab might run away with the match. Left-arm spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel were excellent. The task for DC's batsmen and bowlers is to sustain the form shown in the previous two matches.
The problem for Mumbai is right at the top. Both Rohit Sharma (in picture) and Ishan Kishan have spent almost the entire season waiting for the big knock to come, but in vain. If the law of averages tilts in their favour even for just this match, Delhi would be under severe duress.
Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator
Players To Watch Out For:
DC: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Kuldeep Yadav
MI: Tilak Varma, Tim David, Jasprit Bumrah
Key contests: Kuldeep Yadav vs Tilak Varma, Anrich Nortje vs Rohit Sharma
X Factor: Rishabh Pant
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