Delhi Capitals will have their fortune in their own hands as they aim to pull all stops against season’s favourite whipping boys Mumbai Indians in what will be a virtual IPL “quarter-final” clash for Rishabh Pant’s men.
While DC have everything to play for, MI will like to cap off the season on a winning note although it would count for little for the five-time champions, who suffered due to poor auction strategy.
In case of Mumbai Indians, the only area of interest is whether legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun finally gets a game after having warmed the bench for 27 straight games across two seasons.
Skipper Rohit Sharma has indicated that they would blood some new faces in the final game. So far 22 players have played in 13 games.
The equation is as simple as it can get for the Capitals (+0.255) as they simply need to beat Mumbai Indians to pip Royal Challengers Bangalore (-0.253) on better net run-rate.
While MI have endured their worst season this time, Capitals have been guilty of inconsistency with seven wins and six defeats in their 13 games.
In fact, it was their victory over RCB in the previous game that ensured back-to-back full points for them.
There have been days when Capitals have been extra-ordinary, with a David Warner (427 runs) or Mitchell Marsh (251 runs) or Rovman Powell (207 runs) upping the ante in batting. Spinners Kuldeep Yadav (20 wickets, 8.45), Axar Patel (6 wickets, 7.37) and Lalit Yadav (4 wickets, 8.33) have also done a decent job with the ball in a number of games.
However there are two areas where Capitals have floundered this season. One has been the pace department which has blown hot ‘n’ cold throughout, save Khaleel Ahmed (16 wickets at 8.08). Shardul Thakur despite his 13 wickets has conceded runs at more than nine runs per over.
And second and more importantly is skipper Pant’s (301 runs) inability to convert some of his good starts into big scores.
What has worked for DC towards the business end is Marsh’s batting form and his two half-centuries which has gone a long way in keeping them alive.
Mustafizur Rahaman (8 wickets at 7.62) was fantastic in the games that he played but the combination requirement has prevented Ricky Ponting from playing him in more games.
However what will ease a bit of pressure off Ponting ahead of a high-stakes game is Sarfaraz Khan’s form as an opener.
After Prithvi Shaw was indisposed due to a bout of typhoid (he is still recuperating), Ponting used Kona Bharat and it didn’t work out well for the team.
Finally, Sarfaraz did look the part with a 16-ball-32 in the penultimate game and Ponting is unlikely to tinker with the combination unless Shaw is fully fit.
As far as MI is concerned, the less the said about this season, better it is for them.
Save NT Tilak Varma’s emergence as a stylish batter, who could be the next MI legend alongside Tim David, who has taken over the mantle from Kieron Pollard, there is not much to write home about.
Skipper Rohit would certainly like this ordeal to get over and get some much-needed rest before the next tour of England.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Anmolpreet Singh, Rahul Buddhi, Ramandeep Singh, SuryakumarYadav, Tilak Verma, Tim David, Arjun Tendulkar, Basil Thampi, Hrithik Shokeen, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Murugan Ashwin, Riley Meredith, Tymal Mills, Kartikeya Singh, Daniel Sams, Dewald Brevis, Fabian Allen, Kieron Pollard, Sanjay Yadav, Aryan Juyal and Ishan Kishan.
Delhi Capitals: Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (C), Ashwin Hebbar, David Warner, Mandeep Singh, Prithvi Shaw,Rovman Powell, Anrich Nortje, Chetan Sakariya, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav, Lungi Ngidi, Mustafizur Rahman, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Kamlesh Nagarkoti,Lalit Yadav, Mitchell Marsh, Pravin Dubey, Ripal Patel, Sarfaraz Khan, Vicky Ostwal, Yash Dhull, KS Bharat and Tim Seifert.