Thriller on cards as Mumbai take on Daredevils

Delhi confident after win over Chargers

Mumbai Indians’ pace bowler Lasith Malinga, the top wicket-taker in IPL IV so far, will have a vital role to play on Saturday against a resurgent Delhi Daredevils at the Wankhede stadium. AFP

Chasing a stiff 176-run target, Sehwag single-handedly demolished the opposition with a blistering 56-ball 119 to guide Delhi to a four-wicket win over Deccan Chargers on Thursday. Sehwag’s pyrotechnics against Deccan not only earned his side a fantastic come-from-behind win, but also earned him the Orange Cap from his Mumbai counterpart Sachin Tendulkar, boosting his tally to a highly impressive 422.

But Tendulkar (351 runs) would be eager to snatch it back from Sehwag’s head when the game gets underway at the Wankhede Stadium. Tendulkar’s mini battle for top honours with Sehwag would provide a fascinating view in the high-octane clash under lights. Sehwag remains central to Delhi’s slim hopes of earning one of the four berths on offer for the play-offs in the T20 league.

The Delhi think tank benched regular opener David Warner against Chargers, but with Aaron Finch misfiring yet again, the diminutive Australian is expected to take his place back in the playing eleven on the morrow.

It’s imperative that Sehwag and Warner (254 runs from nine games) fire in unison against the top-class Mumbai attack led by Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh to provide Delhi any chance of an upset victory. The middle-order, however, has not clicked to the expected levels for Delhi, with the likes of Y Venugopal Rao, Naman Ojha and Irfan Pathan blazing a trail only in fits and starts.

By virtue of their victory over Deccan, the Daredevils now occupy the eighth position in the 10-team table with eight points, and a defeat against Mumbai would almost certainly knock them out of contention for the knockout stage of the tournament.

Going into the match, Delhi would like to forget their previous tie at home against Mumbai when Sehwag was run-out for 19 and they were eventually bundled out for a paltry 95.
Delhi’s bowling attack looks strong now with James Hopes, Ajit Agarkar and Avishkar Salvi offering good support to pace spearhead Morne Morkel. But Irfan will have to pull up his socks and come up with consistent performances to justify his place in the team.

However, one thing what Delhi lacks in its bowling unit is a quality spinner. Interestingly, Delhi and Mumbai find themselves in contrasting position going into the match. If Delhi need a victory to stay in title hunt, one more win wil more or less seal Mumbai’s berth in the play-offs. Tendulkar and his men were sitting atop the table with 14 points from nine games, and a victory against Delhi would thus ensure Mumbai their entry into the last four stage.

Mumbai have been easily the form team in the tournament with Tendulkar, Ambati Rayudu (290 runs) and Rohit Sharma (233) excelling with the bat, while big-hitting Kieron Pollard and Andrew Symonds are slowly coming to grips.

But what remains the lone matter of concern for Mumbai is an effective opening partner for Tendulkar, with Davy Jacobs being injured and his replacement Aiden Blizzard flopping in his only appearance.

With James Franklin having been tried without much success at this position, Suman is serious contender for the opening slot along with Tendulkar.

Teams (from): Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar (capt), Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Rohit Sharma, T Suman, Munaf Patel, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Andrew Symonds, Davy Jacobs, James Franklin, Dilhara Fernando, Ray Price, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Aditya Tare, Ali Murtaza, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pawan Suyal, R Satish, Sarul Kanwar, Suryakumar Yadav, Yuzvendra Singh Chahai.

Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (capt), Irfan Pathan, Naman Ojha, Ajit Agarkar, Ashok Dinda, Umesh Yadav, Venugopal Rao, Aavishkar Salvi, Prashant Naik, Rajesh Pawar, Robin Bist, S Sriram, Tejaswi Yadav, Unmukh Chand, Varun Aaron, Vikas Mishra, Vivek Yadav, Yogesh Nagar, Shahbaz Nadeem, David Warner, James Hopes, Morne Morkel, Aaron Finch, Mathew Wade, Roelof van der Merwe, Andrew McDonald, Travis Birt, Colin Ingram, Robert Frylinck.

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