Jame Richardson previews the IPL qualifier between the Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Capitals taking place in Dubai on Thursday 5 November.
Iamge Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
The Indian Premier League is close to its ultimate climax with just a handful of matches left to decide who wins the 13th edition of the biggest franchise T20 tournament in the world.
The IPL rewards the teams finishing in the top two spots on the log standings with two opportunities to make the final. They face one another in qualifier one with the winner going straight into the final while the loser gets another shot in qualifier two facing the winners of the eliminator clash between the third and fourth place teams.
Those teams are the Mumbai Indians, who topped the standings and second-placed Delhi Capitals, who sealed their place in qualifier one with victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their final round-robin game.
Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Capitals
Thursday 5 November 2020, 16:00
Dubai International Stadium
To Win MatchMumbai Indians 67/100
Delhi Capitals 5/4
The perennial contenders and defending champions were expected to struggle due to their lack of a world-class spinner coupled with the loss of inspirational quick Lasith Malinga; however, they have once again shown themselves to be a champion side.
Pre-tournament predictions were that fast bowlers and power-hitting finishers would struggle which did not bode well for the team, but they proved the doubters wrong.
The quicks played a massive part in the Indians’ success with Jasprit Bumrah showing further development despite already being a world-class fast bowler. He was well backed up by Black Caps left-arm quick Trent Boult and surprise package James Pattinson from Australia.
The emergence of Rahul Chahar addressed the lack of a top wrist-spinner as he proved to be a future India prospect.
The Indians lost skipper Rohit Sharma to injury halfway through the tournament although Quinton de Kock’s consistency at the top of the order has helped to make up for his absence.
With three wins on their last four matches, MI come into the playoffs as arguably the form team holding their nerve in some crucial matches at the back-end of the round-robin phase.
The Capitals are also a team who have been carried to the playoffs by world-class quick bowling with South Africans Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje spearheading an attack that lost Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma to injury.
Rabada and Nortje are hardly old hands, but they have more international experience than the Capitals key batsmen who are arguably all in line to form the spine of India teams for years to come.
Shreyas Iyer captains the side while he is supported by the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant, all of these young cricketers have forced their way into international cricket.
It is veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan who provides top-order x-factor, and his game-breaking batting could be the Capitals not-so-secret weapon in the latter stages.
The Capitals also have a finisher capable of miracles in Marcus Stoinis whose medium pace could also come in handy in Dubai.
Ashwin returned from injury just in time to help the Capitals finish in the top two and is likely to play a big part on the deteriorating surfaces.
Verdict: Mumbai Indians 67/100
Get on the Mumbai Indians to get over the line.