In the race for playoffs, Mumbai encounter their toughest checkpoint

back icon
safari
01 Oct 2021 | 02:29 PM
authorSomesh Agarwal

In the race for playoffs, Mumbai encounter their toughest checkpoint

Delhi Capitals were surging until UAE affected one of their bigger strengths

We should thank the Mumbai Indians. Due to the collective underperformance of their mighty middle-order, there is still some spark in the league stage of what has been a dull second leg of the IPL. During the first leg in India, the wicket at Chepauk rolled heads with the low scoring encounters. The memory of those games still lingers especially if you are concerned in any way about Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

After 15 games in UAE, the run rate on wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi has been 7.6, less than even the so-called dustbowls of Chennai earlier this year (7.7). At Sharjah – the venue of the upcoming game between Mumbai and Delhi – the run rate has been even lower: 7.0. 

The first four games at Sharjah last year saw 200 runs scored for fun. There were judgements passed about the brilliance of the knocks Sachin Tendulkar played here all those years back. Now with Sharjah being at the other end of the spectrum this year, one is free to take a call on what kind of pitches Tendulkar had scored those runs on. Of course, depending on which side of Tendulkar’s legacy debate you are.

Coming back to the game at hand. The finalists of last year head into their respective 12th match of the season with different objectives. Delhi are looking to extend one leg into the top-2 spots, a position which has decided the league winner since 2017. But, in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore, they have the three toughest opponents to get past. For Mumbai, every game is a do or die encounter to reach the threshold of 16 points. A tally that has guaranteed a playoff spot every year. Delhi are their toughest opponent before moving to the lesser mortals in Rajasthan and Hyderabad.

The overlooked issue

The troubles of Mumbai batters against slow balls – via pacers or spinners – has been the focal point of their stuttery campaign. Meanwhile, lack of impact with the ball during the middle overs has hurt them a lot more.

The opening game of the UAE leg now seems long ago. But, after having Chennai Super Kings effectively five down in the Powerplay, Mumbai managed to let the game slip away. Kolkata openers blew Mumbai’s hallowed bowling attack to smithereens while Glenn Maxwell switch hit his way during the middle overs in the next game. Decent returns with the ball in overs 7-15 against Punjab ensured that the good work done during the Powerplay did not go to waste.

In the UAE leg so, Mumbai Indians have been the second-worst side on the economy front and the worst side on balls per wicket record during the middle overs. Contributing heavily to the high economy has been Krunal Pandya who has gone for 10.1 runs per over in this period. He has also been the culprit on lack of wickets with none so far in eight overs in the phase. But, the bigger contributor is the one expected to make inroads. In 14 overs in this phase since the start of the UAE leg, Rahul Chahar has picked only a solitary wicket.

Now, when Mumbai play Delhi, they are likely make the customary change of bringing in Jayant Yadav. It is Rahul Chahar who usually lost his spot to make way last year. It will not be surprising if the axe falls on Krunal Pandya this time.

Ill-timed fizzle

During the Indian leg of the IPL, Delhi Capitals were on fire. The torchbearers of that fury were the veteran and the young gun, the lefty and the righty up top. Starting with a 138-run stand in Delhi’s first, they never looked back. In most games, they took Delhi so far ahead that it become difficult for the opposition to find a way back. Prithvi Shaw even ended the first half of the IPL as the most impactful batsman based on our analysis.

However, in the three games in UAE, they have left a little too much to do for the batsmen to follow. While in India, Delhi – thanks to their openers – were miles ahead of any other team in the Powerplay. In UAE, they have dropped to the lowest run rate than every other side.

Shikhar Dhawan’s numbers have slumped from an average of 54.3 and a strike rate of 134 in India to an average of 24.7 and a strike rate of 114 in the UAE. Shaw had two forgettable outings and lost his place to Steve Smith in Delhi’s last game due to a niggle. By no parameter, Smith is at the same level of explosive prowess as the one he replaced. 

Now, scoring heavily in the Powerplay might not be the only path for success. But, on pitches where run-scoring has not been easy, using the field restrictions to good effect might be a lot handier in comparison to venues that allow comebacks.

It is a testament to the intensity of their turnaround, that on both aspects where Mumbai and Delhi have under-delivered since moving to UAE, Kolkata Knight Riders have been better than others. After all, Mumbai’s predicament has not been the only factor that has kept this season of the IPL interesting.

Probable XIs

Delhi Capitals: Steve Smith/Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (c&wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, R Ashwin/Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya/Jayant Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult

Note: All numbers updated till Match 44 between Sunrises Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Mumbai Indians vs Delhi CapitalsIndian Premier League, 2021Delhi CapitalsMumbai IndiansRohit SharmaRishabh PantShikhar DhawanKrunal PandyaRahul ChaharSteven Smith

Related Articles

safari
OPINION
The two sides of the same coin – Batsmen with two different halves of IPL 2021
Here is a list of batsmen who had contrasting record after IPL’s shift to the Middle East
userAnirudh Kasargod
16 Oct 2021
safari
ANALYSIS
Rajasthan, Mumbai face off as race for playoffs intensifies
RR and MI will also have to better their NRR if they want to compete with KKR
userHardik Worah
04 Oct 2021
safari
REPORT
Mumbai’s fate is no more in their own hands
Following their defeat to Delhi, the five-time champions will now also have to rely on other results to qualify for the playoffs
userHardik Worah
02 Oct 2021
safari
OPINION
IPL 2021: As things stand
With the season set to resume on September 19th, here is a rundown of each side
userSomesh Agarwal
26 Jul 2021
safari
REPORT
Mishra's four-wicket haul helps Delhi break the Mumbai jinx
Mumbai's batsmen failed to live up to the potential once again as Delhi beat them after five outings
userSomesh Agarwal
20 Apr 2021
safari
ANALYSIS
Finalists of last year resume a lopsided rivalry
In IPL 2020, Delhi Capitals finished second in all four games against Mumbai Indians
userSomesh Agarwal
19 Apr 2021
safari
OPINION
Mumbai Indians' road to playoffs
Mumbai finished top of the points table and will take on Delhi in Qualifier 1
userHardik Worah
04 Nov 2020
safari
ANALYSIS
Fireworks expected in top-of-the-table clash
Mumbai have won four of their six encounters and are currently placed just below Delhi who have lost only one of their six games
userHardik Worah
10 Oct 2020
safari
NEWS
IPL 2020: The complete news timeline
What's hot, what's not, who's in, who's out. Everything that you need to know about IPL 2020 - we have it covered here!
userCricket.com staff
04 Sep 2020
safari
ANALYSIS
MI's freestyle cricket up against DC challenge at Kotla
DC are back home after winning three away games in a row
userShubh Aggarwal
17 Apr 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved