“We have now won four out of seven games. It has never happened since I am playing”, said the Delhi Capitals skipper, Shreyas Iyer after his side defeated Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens. Since then, Delhi also beat the Sunrisers, won three games in a row - all away from home - and now find themselves at the second spot in the points table. They will now be facing Mumbai Indians, the team only one spot below them, that too by the virtue of Net Run-Rate.
Still Delhi will find themselves in a much better situation carrying the confidence of winning three games in a row. Another point that will boost their confidence is that they will be playing against Mumbai Indians, a side they have defeated three out of three times prior to their upcoming encounter. Among the current sides, Mumbai is the only team against whom Delhi have won more matches than they have lost - a win percentage of 52.1.
Like most of the years, batsmen have struggled to strike the ball freely in Kotla. The average run-rate this year on the Kotla track has been 7.66, which is the second lowest after the dust bowl that Chepauk offers. Pacers have had an impressive economy of 7.95 here in 2019 but spinners have been even better conceding only 6.91 runs off the bat per over. Moreover, the boundary percentage conceded by the spinners is only 13.3, beating pacers by a fair margin who have leaked a boundary almost every fifth ball (approximately 20%).
The low and slow nature of Kotla wicket has rarely worked in favor of the Mumbai batsmen who are highly dependent on their free-flowing strokeplay. Despite having played majority of their games on a true Wankhede track, they are one among the three teams with a dot ball percentage in excess of 40. Hitting boundaries consistently - 19.6 boundary percentage ,second best in the tournament - is where they have managed to achieve big totals and Kotla will offer them seldom chances to repeat an imposing batting show.
Mumbai’s struggle against leg-break
Scoring only at 6.65 runs per over against leggies, the right-arm wrist spinners have been Mumbai’s nemesis this year. They will also have some bad memories from their last trip to Kotla in a do-or-die game and were undone by Delhi spinners - Mishra and Lamichhane - handing them three wickets each which broke the back of their run-chase.
Delhi will again have the option to unleash both Mishra and Lamichhane to create pressure against the visiting batsmen like they did last year who are expected to get enough purchase from the 22-yard strip at their home ground.
A prime example of Mumbai’s struggle against leg spin is their skipper, Rohit Sharma’s dismal record against Amit Mishra. The experienced leggie has dismissed Rohit 4 times in the 78 balls and has conceded only 76 runs.
Delhi’s death bowling vs Hardik Pandya
With Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris bowling throughout the last four overs of the innings, Delhi Capitals have formed the best fast bowling duo during the death overs this season. They have taken 26 wickets during the last phase of the innings (joint highest along with KXIP) but at a much better bowling strike rate (8.3) and bowling average (12.19) this season.
More importantly, they have the second best economy rate this season - 8.72 - which can be attributed to their no-nonsense strategy of bowling yorkers and making it tough for the opposition batsmen during the slog overs. In fact, Delhi pacers have bowled the highest proportion of yorkers during the death.
On the other hand, the South African pace duo will have their task cut out against Hardik Pandya, one of the most lethal strikers of the ball at the death this season. He has majorly been responsible for Mumbai consistently augmenting their total by striking it big in the last 5 overs.
While Pandya will enjoy the small size of the stadium, he will be up against one of the most formidable set of death bowlers this season and the competition between the two parties will definitely make a mouth watering contest.
Having won their previous game against RCB, Mumbai Indians may not make any changes to their side. A tried and tested bowling combination of 2 spinners in Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar to complement three pacers can work fine in Kotla and they don’t have much issues in the batting department either.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Surya Kumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Jason Behrendorff
Having won three games on the trott, even Delhi Capitals don’t need to make many changes to make in the side. Albeit, they will be tempted to bring Sandeep Lamichhane back in the XI but the only player who can make place for him is Keemo Paul, the man-of-the-match in Delhi’s victory in Hyderabad. Knowing the Delhi track can aid Paul again, Lamichhane might have to wait for his chances in the XI.
Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Colin Munro, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Akshar Patel, Chris Morris, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma