Delhi and Mumbai battle for the top spot in the points table
It’s a top-of-the-table clash as league leaders Delhi take on defending champions Mumbai in what is the biggest match of the season so far.
Delhi currently hold a two-point lead over Mumbai which the four-time champions can wipe out with a victory and overtake the side from the capital to take top spot in the standings.
Despite Delhi being the only team from the current eight to have not played an Indian T20 League final and Mumbai winning the title four times, their head-to-head record is matched evenly at 12-12.
Here are the key facts from the contest.
Bumrah - The Pant neutraliser
Rishab Pant is perhaps the most dangerous batsman in the Delhi line-up. The 23-year-old hard-hitting batsman possesses the ability to take the game away from the opposition on his own as he has proven in the past and the Mumbai think-tank will be wary of the threat that he possesses.
Fortunately, Mumbai have the perfect neutraliser for Delhi's swashbuckling batsman in pacer Jasprit Bumrah. In seven innings against Bumrah, Pant has scored just 26 runs in 25 balls, a strike rate of just 104 and has been dismissed four times.
Players to watch out for
Mumbai – James Pattinson
Replacing the ever-present Lasith Malinga was a huge responsibility and Australian speedster James Pattinson has been brilliant so far in filling that hole. The 30-year-old has picked up nine wickets in six matches and is in the running for the Purple Cap alongside teammates Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. Despite being tasked with bowling in the Powerplay and at the death, Pattinson has a respectable economy rate of 7.72. Mumbai couldn’t have asked for a better replacement for Malinga and the team will be hopeful that Pattinson continues in the same vein for the rest of the season.
Delhi – Shreyas Iyer
It isn’t only his team's biggest test of the season but the match against Mumbai is also personal for Delhi skipper Shreyas Iyer, as he will lead his side against his home town franchise. Iyer has been sublime for Delhi this season and has 203 runs in his six outings so far at a good strike rate of 140.97. Iyer, the youngest captain in the Indian T20 League, has led his team to the top of the standings, but he as well as the team will need to prove their credentials as title challengers by usurping the reigning champions Mumbai. It will be an intriguing contest and the Delhi skipper will be at the centre of the storm.
Stats to watch out for
1: Rishab Pant needs just one more dismissal to record 50 for Delhi in the Indian T20 League. He also needs just one more six to reach 100 sixes for the team. He will become the first man to both landmarks for Delhi.
6.50: Axar Patel has an economy rate of just 6.50 in the Indian T20 League this season, the best among all Delhi bowlers this season
7: Opener Shikhar Dhawan needs just seven runs to reach 1,000 runs for Delhi in the Indian T20 League. He could become the eighth man to reach that landmark.
32: Delhi and Mumbai’s pace attack have combined to pick up 32 wickets each, the most among all teams in the Indian T20 League.
61: Rohit Sharma needs 61 runs to reach 4,000 runs for Mumbai. He could become the first man to reach that mark for the franchise on a day when he will become the second player to feature 150 times for the franchise after Kieron Pollard.
Delhi and Mumbai are the two best teams this season and will likely play each other in Qualifier 1. Both teams are filled to the brim with world-class talent and neither would want to relinquish top spot, despite the fact that finishing top or second in the points table have essentially the same outcome. The pressure of being favourites might be new to Delhi, but Mumbai have been in that spot far too often and have delivered the goods. Hence, we pick Mumbai to come out on top in this heavyweight clash.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain