Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals will face off in the first qualifier in Dubai, with the winner moving straight on to the final. With plenty at stake, we break down the performances of both teams along with some bets to consider from Thursday’s game.
Thursday, 1am (AEDT)
Mumbai Indians have been the best team of the season so far. They finished the group stage as the top-placed team, finishing with nine wins in 14 games. They were one of only two teams to have a positive net run-rate at the end of the group stage. In terms of balance, Mumbai had the best line-up, with a strong top three, a powerful finishing attack in Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard, along with one of the best death-bowling combinations in Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
Delhi Capitals, on the other hand, weren’t assured of a playoffs spot up until they beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their final group-stage game. Right through the first half of the tournament, Delhi looked like they had the requisites to challenge for the top-two spots, before eventually sneaking in, thereby giving themselves another opportunity for a spot in next Tuesday’s final.
This is a slightly harder question to answer because of so many factors, but I would stick with my pre-tournament prediction of Mumbai. In the last few years, they have won so many big moments in big matches, simply because of the depth of their line-up. It can be argued that not many other teams have the same number of match-winners.
For me, Mumbai’s player of the tournament so far has been Suryakumar Yadav, who has scored 410 runs at an average of 41 and a stunning strike rate of 150. Rohit Sharma hasn’t quite hit his stride, having managed just 264 runs in 10 matches. He brought himself back for the final group-stage match against Sunrisers after he was sidelined due to injury. “I was going through some tough times but, again, good to be back,” Rohit said after the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. “I'm looking forward to play a few more games here and then see what happens.”
Delhi will rely on Kagiso Rabada, who is the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 25 wickets. Shikhar Dhawan has performed well with the bat, having scored 525 runs at an average of 47.72 including two successive centuries. Apart from these two, there is a question mark on the form of the rest of the line-up.
Bumrah and Boult have been fantastic in tandem this season. Both players were rightly and predictably rested for Tuesday’s game against Sunrisers. Bumrah has taken 23 wickets this season, using the short ball and the back-of-a-length slower ball to terrific effect in the longer boundaries of the UAE. The bowlers have been in the game a lot more in the slower surfaces of Dubai. Bumrah will continue to enjoy these pitches. He would be my pick to back for Player of the Match.
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