Mumbai Indians v Delhi Capitals: DC to defy the odds

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan was at his best against RCB on Tuesday and DC will need plenty more from him.

Delhi reminded us what they can do on Monday and can exploit fitness and form concerns in the Mumbai camp to book their place in the final, says Jamie Pacheco.

"I’m going to take a punt on Delhi. Group performances won’t mean anything here and I was impressed with how well they played against RCB. Aggressive and tight with the ball, clinical in the chase."

Mumbai Indians v Delhi Capitals
Thursday November 05, 14:00

Sharma needs to put the team first

Things were going so smoothly up till Tuesday's defeat to SRH. They were on an excellent run but decided to rest Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult in a bid to experiment and rest two such important performers. It didn't work out with their bowling lacking penetration. It says it all that having bossed the Group Stages, they failed to take a single wicket as SRH chased their 150 without breaking sweat.

The defeat in itself wasn't a big problem. Bring back those two and things should quickly return to normality.

The real problem is Rohit Sharma himself. He'd had an ok tournament when he got injured and they did fine without him. Ishan Kishan moved up to open and was excellent, with knocks of 68, 37, 25 and 72. Then Sharma returned, opened, scored just four, Kishan went back to batting at four and the whole dynamic changed. Sharma needs to do what's best for the team, let Kishan open and be a 'floater' himself and bat lower down.

Rohit Sharma plays shot 1280.jpg

At least Kieron Pollard got some time in the middle last time out. His brutal 41 off 25 was the only reason they got to anything resembling a decent total on Tuesday.

Possible XI: Sharma, de Kock, Yadav, Kishan, Pollard, Tiwary, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Chahar, Boult, Bumrah.

DC need to stick with the same side

What a weird campaign it's been for DC. They were brilliant at the start where they won a mixture of tight games and very one-sided ones. Those early wins were priceless because they then went on a run of four straight defeats. Ahead of their game against RCB on Monday, a win would see them guarantee a Top 2 finish. Defeat could have meant missing out on that and maybe missing out entirely on a PlayOff place.

But won it they did. RCB weren't without blame but DC bowled extremely well with South African pair Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada sharing five wickets, and others chipping in.

Shikhar Dhawan was excellent again in the chase but got support from an unlikely source. Ajinkya Rahane hadn't reached 30 in five previous attempts this tournament but played a well-measured 60 to make it an easy chase in the end.

They look better for bringing in Daniel Sams for Shimron Hetmyer and playing three overseas bowlers, despite Sams being expensive last time out. But they do still look vulnerable with the bat. What happens if Dhawan gets out for not many? Can the others come good?

Possible XI: Dhawan, Shaw, Rahane, Pant, Iyer, Stoinis, Patel, Ashwin, Rabada, Sams, Nortje.

Enough reasons to go with DC

The Indians are favorites at 1.748/11, with Delhi out at 2.3211/8.

Mumbai have won their last three in a row against Delhi but interestingly, it's pretty close over the years. Despite Mumbai's incredible success in the competition over the years and Delhi's lack of it, it's just 14-12 in favour of the Indians in the IPL.

It's been a straight 3/3 split in terms of the last six in Dubai in terms of the winner batting first or chasing so there doesn't seem to be an edge there in terms off the winner of the toss.

I'm going to take a punt on Delhi. Group performances won't mean anything here and I was impressed with how well they played against RCB. Aggressive and tight with the ball, clinical in the chase.

Despite the absence of a toss bias, I'd rather Delhi chase because of how ruthless the likes of de Kock and Pollard can be with a target in sight. I'd also rather they open with Sharma, which is the wrong move for them. And I have concerns about how fit Hardik Pandya is and the absence of a suitable replacement if he isn't. And I wonder how much momentum was lost with that crushing defeat by SRH.

Given the gulf in prices, those are enough doubts to side with DC.

Ishan Kishan a huge price

We've had to wait a long time for a seriously wrong price on a batsman in this IPL. But it may have been worth the wait.

The Sportsbook are going 6/1 on Ishan Kishan for Mumbai Top Bat and that's just silly. You wouldn't have thought he's the team's second top scorer on viewing that price, just 15 behind de Kock. In four matches where he opened in Sharma's absence, he top-scored in two of them.

Kieron Pollard - 1280.jpg

Of course, to be in with the best chance, we'd like him to open instead of Sharma. That would then rate as just about the best value top batsman bet of the tournament. But even if he bats at his regular position at four, he'll have a good chance. DC tend to take early wickets with Rabada and Nortje in action, occasionally Ashwin as well, at the start of the innings. So, he may not have to wait long to come to the crease. It's too good a price to miss out on.

An alternative is the big man for the big occasion. Pollard pipped S. Yadav to top bat last game and may just fancy a promotion up the order. He's 17/2 to repeat the trick and 14/1 for man-of-the-match.


Staked: 29pts
Returned: 33.34 pts
P&L:+4.34 pts

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