So this is where it gets busy! Defending champions Mumbai take on Delhi in the first playoff of the 2020 Indian T20 League with a hope of taking a step closer to the title. They have already completed a double over their Thursday’s opponents and will be riding high on confidence heading into the fixture.

Delhi, on the other hand, have had troubles, especially in the second half of the season, having gone through a four-match winless run to put a dent in their otherwise perfect season. Shreyas Iyer’s men have shown a colossal deficiency against Mumbai after having failed to defend their targets in both the games this season. Mumbai have the momentum on their side despite losing their final league stage game of the season. As far as their head-to-head count goes, history suggests the record champions are once again the favourites.

So as we approach the game, here are some key stats you need to take note of:

Mumbai bowlers a threat to Delhi

Delhi batsmen have had mixed fortunes against Mumbai’s pace attack. In their most recent encounter - a nine-wicket victory for Mumbai - both Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult picked three wickets each while maintaining an economy of under six. With Rohit Sharma absent from the game, opener Ishan Kishan and Quinton de Kock did enough to cruise to a comfortable victory.

Bumrah, for his part, has played 13 games against Delhi in the Indian T20 League, picking 14 wickets at an average of 26.29, while picking two 3+ wicket hauls. Krunal Pandya has eight wickets in nine games against them while Rahul Chahar has been a revelation, picking four in three games while having an economy of 5.83; the best by any Mumbai bowler against Delhi.

Mumbai bowlers against Delhi in Indian T20 League
Player Matches Wickets Average Economy Strike Rate
Jasprit Bumrah 13 14 26.29 7.67 20.57
Krunal Pandya 9 8 18.38 6.35 17.38
Rahul Chahar 3 4 17.50 5.83 18.00
Trent Boult 2 4 14.25 7.13 12.00

The venue further provides Mumbai bowlers with an upper hand, with Bumrah and Boult combining for 11 wickets in three games in Dubai this season.

Players to watch:

Mumbai - Quinton de Kock

The South African opener scored a quickfire half-century in Mumbai’s first meeting with Delhi this season. Scoring at an average of 36.91, the 27-year-old has accumulated 443 runs in the ongoing campaign, but his record against Ravichandran Ashwin is something that poses some sort of worry. The southpaw has faced the Indian spinner in five Indian T20 League innings, scoring 61 runs off 50 balls, hitting at a strike rate of 122.00. While these figures are decent, to say the least, the fact that he has been dismissed thrice during the tenure is a thing to worry.

Delhi - Shreyas Iyer

Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer made a blistering start to the new season, but his returns took a hit during the business end of the campaign. The 25-year-old has posted two single-digit scores in his last three outings and his team would like him to improve upon this. But as he enters the fixture, a certain Rahul Chahar awaits at the gates with a superior head-to-head record against the Delhi captain. The pair have squared off in three Indian T20 League innings and Iyer has managed a mere seven runs off 11 balls while being dismissed twice by the spinner. 

Stats to watch out for:

2: Sixes Pollard needs to reach 200 sixes in Indian T20 League for Mumbai (Will be the first player to do so).

4: Wickets Nortje needs to reach 50 T20 wickets.

8: Runs Rohit needs to reach 4000 runs for Mumbai (Will be the first player to do so).

24.90: Iyer’s average vs Mumbai, his lowest against any current Indian T20 League team.

28: Runs De Kock needs to reach 1000 runs in the Indian T20 League for Mumbai.

46: Runs Suryakumar Yadav needs to reach 2000 runs in the Indian T20 League.

Writer’s pick:

As mentioned, momentum is well and truly on Mumbai’s side and given their experience in high-pressure games such as this, they are highly likely to come out on top. As for Delhi, their batsmen need to do the talking as the bowling contingent has done well enough to assert their claim. So when they meet on Thursday, we expect the defending champions to win the contest.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain