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Delhi, Mumbai and a tussle for the top spot

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Last updated on 19 Mar 2023 | 11:52 AM
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Delhi, Mumbai and a tussle for the top spot

The battle of the two teams that have already qualified to the next round of the competition

Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals might have already qualified for the knock-out stage of the competition but there’s all to play for both the franchises. A win for Mumbai could well and truly seal their place at the top of the table but a win for Delhi could spice things up in the competition. 

You would naturally assume that these two are coming on the back of another win, right? Nope, Mumbai lost against UP Warriorz, and Delhi against Gujarat Giants. So, both of them enter this contest with a L against their name. For Mumbai, it is the first time an opposition has managed to get two points away from them, also the first time they have been bowled out. 

There is everything to play for, and both these teams would want to make a huge statement ahead of the playoff stage of the competition. But statement isn’t the only thing, finishing first has a big perk.

Things to watch out for

How will Mumbai bounce back?

Mumbai have never lost a match in this year’s competition, until that clash against UP Warriorz. But now it will be interesting to see how they will bounce back after their first loss. It was also the first time their middle-order was tested in the WPL, and the result was that they weren’t quite good enough to handle the Warriorz’ spin choke. 

Even though Hayley Matthews scored a 35 off 30 balls, with one boundary and three sixes, she thoroughly struggled. Delhi would be aiming to throw the ball to someone like Radha Yadav in the powerplay. 

Barring that knock against Gujarat Giants, Amelia Kerr too hasn’t got too many chances to bat, and when got an opportunity, has failed to capitalize. Delhi would have noticed all of this, and would be aiming to neutralize that. 

Are Delhi over reliant on their top-order?

Delhi have the best top-order in the competition, a top-order that has the explosive touch of Shafali Verma, the elegance of Meg Lanning and the effervescence of Alice Capsey, making it for an enticing prospect. They have lost the least wickets out of all teams, and have got their runs – 547 runs – with a strike-rate of 158.1, at least 16 better than all the other teams. 

But on the other hand, is the league’s best bowling unit – Mumbai – who have picked up 49 wickets, 11 more than the second-placed bowling unit, Gujarat. In fact, their bowling unit only average 14.7 and concede runs at 6.4 RPO, which will make this contest an exciting one. 

Lanning will be aware of her shot selection last game against the Giants, and will be hoping to do better against the best bowling attack of the competetion.  

Will Alice Capsey be the difference? 

Alice Capsey has had a very indifferent WPL season thus far, with just 87 runs across five encounters. In total, she has smacked 16 boundaries but never has in the series gone past the 40-run mark in the competition. While in most situations, she has come out at her aggressive best, and the last time she played Mumbai, she got out just for six off seven balls. 

Here’s the thing, Capsey has struggled big time against left-arm spin, so the contest against Saika Ishaque might be crucial. Against orthodox bowlers, the right-hander has been dismissed five times, averaging just 15.1, with a strike-rate of 113.4. How this contest pans out might really be a big differentiator for the two sides. 

Pitch and conditions

DY Patil Sports Academy has been quite a perplexing venue thus far in the WPL. While some games have seen 200+ scores, several games post those high-scoring thrillers have been low-scoring ones where spinners have come more into play. The average score batting first at the venue is 151 across 16 innings. 

Bank on the middle-order because at the venue, the middle-order batters have scored with a strike-rate of 132, at an average of 29.8. 51 wickets at the venue have been taken by the pacers, which accounts to 55.4% of the wickets. The spinners at the venue have picked 41 wickets, with a strike-rate of 21.9. So, pick your battle wisely at the venue. 

Tactical Nous

-    Matthews might have had a stunning start to this year’s WPL but there is a certain weakness against her – that’s spin. Against left-arm orthodox, Matthews has a strike-rate of just 75, and against off-spinners – 102. There presents an opportunity for Delhi to bowl the duo of Capsey and Radha Yadav in the powerplay.

-    Mumbai have used Hayley extensively in the powerplay, with five overs. The Windies all-rounder averages 6.8 with the ball but Mumbai should be looking to change their tactics for this clash. Delhi’s top-order – both Shafali and Lanning – have a good record against off-spin. So, Hayley staying as far away from the two would be the wise option. 

Team Combination

Mumbai’s winning streak was only broken in their last game. Unless Pooja Vastrakar is fit and back, Mumbai won’t make a change to their playing XI. 

Probable XI: Yastika Bhatia (wk), Hayley Matthews, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Amelia Kerr, Isabelle Wong, Dhara Gujjar, Humaira Kazi, Amanjot Kaur, Jintimani Kalita, Saika Ishaque 

Delhi might have lost the last game but would want to play with the same XI that has given them much success.

Delhi Capitals: Meg Lanning (C), Shafali Verma, Marizanne Kapp, Jemimah Rodrigues, Alice Capsey, Jess Jonassen, Taniya Bhatia, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Minnu Mani, Tara Norris

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