Mumbai, Delhi clash in search of first win

Hosts look to put behind disappointment of two narrow defeats

Winless title-holders Mumbai Indians and an equally sluggish Delhi Daredevils will be eager to notch up their first points when they clash in the Indian Premier League at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.

While Mumbai went down to Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad by identical one-wicket margins in edge-of-the-seat thrillers, Gautam Gambhir-led Delhi succumbed to Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals in their first two games.

Mumbai's batting line-up which boasts of attacking players like skipper Rohit Sharma, West Indians Elvin Lewis and Kieron Pollard and Suryakumar Yadav has failed to fire in unison in the first two games.

The hosts would especially hope for an end to the dismal run of skipper Rohit, who fell cheaply in both the games after a largely forgettable tour of South Africa and a modest run in the tri-series in Sri Lanka prior to the commencement of IPL.

Rohit's form is crucial for Mumbai and with Lewis too not coming good, the opening partnership has been struggling to get going.

Mumbai could look at promoting Krunal Pandya up the order if his injured brother Hardik, who did not play in the game against Sunrisers on Thursday  night, again misses out.

On the plus side for MI, Suryakumar has been among runs and his role will be a key element for the team, especially if they lose early wickets. In both the games MI failed to produce  big partnerships.

Among the bowlers, rookie leg-spinner Mayank Markande has been brilliant in the two games. His seven wickets, including the four scalps that he captured in a low-scoring tie against Sunrisers at Hyderabad, earned him the purple cap.

The Punjab-born wrist spinner has been relying mostly on googlies as his wicket-taking balls and his performance would be key to Mumbai's success.

Markande, however, has lacked adequate support from the other bowlers -- Mustafizur Rahman, Jasprit Bumrah, Pradeep Sangwan and Krunal.

Mustafizur and Bumrah are two  of the best death bowlers in the world, but they went for runs and would be keen to do better on Saturday.

Delhi, on the other hand, also possess top batsmen but they too haven't been able to perform to their potential till now. Expectations will be high from local boy Shreyas Iyer, apart from captain Gambhir, Rishabh Pant, Australian Glenn Maxwell, Englishman Jason Roy and Kiwi Colin Munro.

If they get going they can dismantle any bowling attack and Mumbai won't be an exception. The visitors could also bring in some newcomers in place of laggards.

Delhi bowlers, who have leaked runs aplenty, will also need to step up and strike regular blows to contain Mumbai's strong batting line-up. The role of spinners, especially leggie Amit Mishra, will be crucial.

The dew factor may not play a significant role as it's an evening game.

 

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