Saturday, April 23, 2016
Start time 1600 local (1030 GMT)
Parthiv Patel’s form with the bat is a concern for a Mumbai Indians’ line-up that is settling down © BCCI
When they take on Mumbai Indians at Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday, Delhi Daredevils will have a chance to do something they haven’t done since IPL 2012 – win three successive matches.
The victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore put the focus on Daredevils’ batting. Quinton de Kock, who played only three matches in IPL 2015, is now their batting lynchpin with 184 runs in three innings so far, including the 48-ball 100 against Royal Challengers. Shreyas Iyer, Karun Nair and Sanju Samson complete a young top order that has been given the freedom to play uninhibited cricket.
Daredevils’ results, however, have been masterminded by the bowling group. Amit Mishra’s four-wicket haul against Kings XI Punjab handed the side its first win. Tactful end-overs bowling by Mohammed Shami and Chris Morris restricted Royal Challengers to 192, when they were on track to get 220, and the batsmen rode on that momentum in the seven-wicket triumph. Zaheer Khan may not be the force he once was, but he has exhibited his mastery with the new ball.
As captain, Zaheer has not been afraid to challenge the youngsters. One such move against Royal Challengers – promoting Nair ahead of Carlos Brathwaite or JP Duminy – paid off. De Kock and Nair’s third-wicket stand of 134 turned a tough chase into a cruise. With a stretch of three home matches over the next week, the bowlers will be key for Daredevils on surfaces that are expected to remain slow.
Mumbai averted a third successive loss by beating Royal Challengers at home on Wednesday. Rohit Sharma’s return to the opening slot and Ambati Rayudu’s move to No. 3 have given the batting order a settled look. Krunal Pandya’s utility and Kieron Pollard’s form in an unbeaten 19-ball 39 augers well for a team that was missing firepower in the middle. Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee have given the bowling unit a fine mix of swing and pace.
One grey area is Parthiv Patel’s position. The wicketkeeper’s dot-ball percentage of 52.24 is the highest among batsmen who have faced 50 deliveries or more in this IPL. Will Mumbai want to tamper with a winning combination, though?
Delhi Daredevils: WWL (most recent first, completed matches only)
Mumbai Indians: WLLWL
In the spotlight
Shreyas Iyer, Daredevils’ highest scorer last season, has lasted 12 balls with scores of 0, 3 and 0 in three innings so far. Against Kings XI, he was wrongly adjudged caught behind down the leg side. Against Royal Challengers, he was dismissed by Shane Watson and David Wiese’s tag-team effort at long-on. Iyer’s return to form will boost Daredevils’ top order, which is now largely reliant on de Kock.
Rohit Sharma has two match-winning half-centuries as an opener this season in chases of 188 and 171, against Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers. His 44-ball 62 against Royal Challengers at the Wankhede Stadium help Mumbai snap out of a couple of early losses.
Having won two matches on the bounce, Daredevils are unlikely to make any changes to the XI that beat Royal Challengers. If the surface aids turn, they could consider playing Imran Tahir in place of Carlos Brathwaite.
Delhi Daredevils (probable) 1 Quinton de Kock, 2 Shreyas Iyer, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 JP Duminy, 5 Karun Nair, 6 Pawan Negi, 7 Chris Morris, 7 Jayant Yadav, 9 6 Carlos Brathwaite/Imran Tahir 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Amit Mishra.
Mumbai have fielded two wicketkeepers in their XI in four matches. If Jos Buttler takes the gloves, Mumbai have the option of playing a pure batsman – possibly Unmukt Chand – in place of Parthiv.
Mumbai Indians (probable) 1 Rohit Sharma 2 Parthiv Patel/Unmukt Chand 3 Ambati Rayudu 4 Jos Buttler 5 Kieron Pollard 6 Hardik Pandya 7 Krunal Pandya 8 Harbhajan Singh 9 Tim Southee 10 Mitchell McClenaghan 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Pitch and conditions
Spinners dictated the course of Daredevils’ first home game, against Kings XI. Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav and Pawan Negi had combined figures of 8-0-44-5 that helped restrict the opposition to 111. There is little to suggest the track will be different. With temperatures touching 40 degrees, the surface could slow down as the game progresses. Dew is unlikely to play a part.
Stats and trivia
- Quinton de Kock’s strike rate of 178.64 is the highest among batsmen who have faced more than 50 balls this season.
- Rohit Sharma has scored 559 runs against Daredevils, the most by any batsman against the side in IPL history.
- Amit Mishra is Daredevils’ highest wicket-taker in the IPL with 56 wickets. Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav, who are now with Knight Riders, come second and third respectively, with 45 and 43 wickets.
“I will bat at top of the order for more or less rest of the tournament. At the end of the day, everything boils down to the balance of the squad. The team looks more settled now with (Ambati) Rayudu batting at No. 3 and myself at the top.”
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma
“Zak is more of a bowling captain. He leads the bowling attack well. JP is an all-round skipper. He does all that he can around everybody which is natural for he is an all-rounder. But off the field, there isn’t much difference between the both of them.”
Quinton de Kock
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo