MUMBAI, April 21: On a roll after five wins on the trot, table toppers Mumbai Indians will look to continue their domination when they clash with struggling Delhi Daredevils in an IPL game on Saturday.
The Rohit Sharma-led side mauled Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets while chasing a challenging 198-run target with Englishman Jos Butler smashing 77 off 37 balls.
Mumbai will be pleased with the consistency of orange cap holder Nitish Rana, who is getting better day by day. Rana, who has so far amassed 255 runs this IPL season, remained unbeaten on 62 to take his side home against Punjab.
With Rohit, Rana, Patel brothers Hardik and Krunal, wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel and Butler in form, any team will be worried taking them.
It is apparent that Mumbai like to chase than setting targets with three of their five wins — against Gujarat Lions, Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore — coming batting second.
The best thing for the home side has been that they have not depended on a single batsman. All of them have chipped in with runs to shape team’s fortunes.
The Mumbai bowlers went for runs in the home game against Gujarat Lions and also last night. This would be an area of definite concern for the team management. The team which posses quality bowlers like Lasith Malinga, seasoned off spinner Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah among others, will have to bowl well to restrict the opposition.
It is likely that Malinga, who has been leaking runs, may be replaced by Kiwi paceman Tim Southee.
For Daredevils’, young guns Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant have contributed nicely but the side will need their top order that includes Sam Billings and Karun Nair to fire in unison against Mumbai.
Billings’s failure in the last match is a sign of worry and he along with Samson, the lone Indian centurion of IPL 10, will have to provide Delhi a solid start, especially on a Wankhede track, which is usually friendly for batters.
Contribution by Mumbai boy Shreyas Iyer, who sort of knows the pitch, will be crucial for the visitors if they have to pile up a big total. Iyer played a breezy knock of 50 in 31 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad, which albeit ended in a losing cause.
It will be interesting to see if Daredevils retain out of sorts Sri Lankan Angelo Matthews, who went for 41 in three overs in their last game.
South African Chris Morris, who returned a four-wicket haul, will need to replicate his performance and has to get support from seasoned pacer and skipper Zaheer Khan and Australian Pat Cummins.
If Mumbai batting line up has to be restricted especially on a Wankhede track, role of spinners especially Amit Misha will be crucial.
A certain entertainment is on the cards for the crowds as scores here have been usually above the 150.
Going into the game, Mumbai Indians have an upper hand and the team will like to continue their love affair with Wankhede by winning their sixth straight game and consolidate the top slot.-PTI