Ed Hawkins previews Tuesday's IPL final between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals in Dubai and says we should expect a close contest...
"Dhawan has big-game mentality and his return to runmaking - a match-defining 70-odd against Sunrisers in the final eliminator - was reminiscent of the four-game streak when he put together back-to-back fifties and then back-to-back tons."
Mumbai Indians v Delhi Capitals
Tuesday November 10 14:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Mumbai carried their dominance from the group stages through to the qualifier, thrashing Delhi Capitals to rest up ahead of the showpiece. They are the best balanced team, they are the most destructive with the bat, the shrewdest with the ball and, most importantly, every player from number one to 11 in the batting order contributes.
Well, almost. If we were being particularly harsh we would point out that Rohit Sharma, would you believe, is something of a weak link. The skipper has 264 runs at a strike rate of 126. Passable elsewhere but not in this unit.
Fortunately, Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav are run machines while Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard's death hitting is second to none.
There is an injury worry about Trent Boult, who has a groin strain. Aussie James Pattinson will step in if required.
Probable XI De Kock, Rohit, Yadav, Kishan, Hardik, Pollard, Krunal, Coulter-Nile, Pattinson, Chahar, Bumrah
It's only taken Delhi Capitals 16 matches but they have finally picked Marcus Stoinis in his preferred opening role. At the start of the tournament we said that if coach Ricky Ponting got that call right, they should go on to win the title. Just in time?
It can be no coincidence that Delhi were able to reverse their slide with a 'semi-final' success over Sunrisers to book their final spot after Stoinis solved their opening combination issues. He also claimed man of the match.
They are far from a perfect XI, though. Ajinkya Rahane has held on to his place and he didn't even bat against Sunrisers. It seems he is purely in the team to hold up an end in the event of a collapse, which is counterintuitive.
Probable XI Stoinis, Dhawan, Iyer, Pant, Hetmyer, Rahane, Dubey, Axar, Ashwin, Rabada, Nortje
2020 MI 200-5 (Kishan 55, Ashwin 3-29) defended DC 143-8 (Bumrah 4-14, Stoinis 65)
MI 111-1 (Kishan 76*, Nortje 1-25) chased DC 110-9 (Iyer 25, Bumrah 3-17)
MI 166-5 (De Kock 53, Yada 53, Rabada 2-28) chased DC 162-4 (Dhawan 69*, Krunal 2-24)
2019 MI 168-5 (Krunal 37*, Rabada 2-38) defended DC 128-9 (Dhawan 35, Chahar 3-19)
DC 213-6 (Pant 78*, McClenaghan 3-40) defended MI 176-9 (Krunal 32, Rabada 2-23)
Overall MI 15 DC 12
Here are the last 25 first-innings scores in Dubai (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second) read: 200-1/191-1/110-2/172-2/219-1/145-2/126-1/154-2/164-2/176-t/177-na/161-1/167-1/158-2/169-1/201-1/196-1/178-2/164-1/174-1/201-t/175-1/206-1/163-1/157-t. Both of Mumbai's hammerings of Delhi - last game in the group and qualifier - were at this venue. Delhi were also thrashed by Sunrisers there, conceding 217. But they have enjoyed four wins, including easy run outs against CSK and RCB. Both teams are expected to target a minimum of 170 batting first given the recent bias for the chaser in a tournament as a whole. No rain is forecast.
Delhi worth a risk
Mumbai Indians are 1.748/11 with Delhi 2.3411/8. That is pretty much bang on the prices before their final group match when Mumbai won by nine wickets.
Do we treat this as another procession for Mumbai then? Or does the fact that it's the final mean it's a one-off with form going out of the window?
The rational response is to ascribe to the former. But we have a strong view that a team with the prodigious natural talent that Delhi possess cannot be as bad again, particularly as they have made the Stoinis switch that we have been calling for.
They have a great chance to trade as short favourites with the likes of Stoinis, Shikhar Dhawan and Shimron Hetmyer rising to the occasion with the bat. If they were to bat first and put Mumbai under pressure and stay in the game then the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje could cause panic at the death with a rate near nine or 10.
Shikhar Dhawan is very much a nought or 50 merchant. In his last five innings he has three ducks and two fifties. Unpredictable? Not really. He is consistent once in nick and has a fair reputation for putting back-to-back scores together. Dhawan is 9/4 for top Delhi bat. But with the absence of a 'to score a 50' price, Sportsbook's 6/1 that he pips KL Rahul for top tournament bat - he is 67 behind - is worthy.
Dhawan has big-game mentality and his return to run-making - a match-defining 70-odd against Sunrisers in the final eliminator - was reminiscent of the four-game streak when he put together back-to-back fifties and then back-to-back tons.
Ed Hawkins IPL P-L