Mumbai Indians v Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2011, Mumbai May 6, 2011

Solid Mumbai await desperate Delhi

Match facts

Saturday, May 7, Mumbai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

Virender Sehwag has made 422 runs at a strike-rate of 178.81, the most in this IPL. Sachin Tendulkar is next, with 351 at 113.59. While Tendulkar might well reclaim the orange cap from Sehwag, the gaping difference between the strike-rates also reveals the gulf between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils. It has taken three outstanding performances from Sehwag to power his struggling side to three of their four wins. Tendulkar's solidity has been enough for Mumbai's strong bowling attack to defend par scores. Sehwag has had to be spectacular to make up for a misfiring batting line-up as well as a bowling unit lacking firepower.

The three most successful Mumbai bowlers have taken 42 wickets at 6.07 runs per over; Delhi's top three have 24 at 7.64. Mumbai must be one of the few Twenty20 sides whose batting serves the principal purpose of providing just enough cushion to their bowlers. What some may call a cautious approach has brought them seven wins in nine games, while even a furious churning of the playing XI hasn't worked for Delhi.

The two teams began their season facing each other at Feroz Shah Kotla, where Delhi ran in to Lasith Malinga who shot them out for 95. Their fortunes have followed the pattern of that game, and unless Sehwag can continue to fight adversity with another blinder, tomorrow could see Mumbai extend their stay at the top of the points table.

Form guide (most recent first)

Mumbai Indians: WWLWW (first in points table)
Delhi Daredevils: WLWLL (seventh in points table)

Team talk

Delhi surprisingly left out David Warner for Aaron Finch against Deccan Chargers and he should return tomorrow. They could also consider playing S Nadeem or Roelof van der Merwe as spinning options to add some variety. Apart from that, there should not be too many changes to the XI that played against Deccan.

Mumbai's problem is about dealing with too much of a good thing. Tendulkar and Ambati Rayudu have been so efficient, and Rohit Sharma so effective when required, that the others have hardly been needed. The only time they were, against Rajasthan Royals on a difficult Jaipur surface, they managed 94. That, and the fact that the top order, especially Tendulkar, has preferred accumulation to acceleration, seem to be the only niggles for Mumbai.

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team selector.

In the spotlight

Morne Morkel may have not had the impact of a Malinga, but he has been Delhi's best bowler by quite a distance. The Wankhede Stadium pitch usually offers bounce, and Morkel with his natural short of a good length should enjoy it. Delhi's chances will depend on how quickly they can get through to the Mumbai middle order, and Morkel will be crucial for that to happen.

Munaf Patel has taken as many wickets as Harbhajan Singh, at a slightly better economy-rate. His role as second seamer behind Malinga has gone unnoticed, and as always, Munaf has gone about his job quietly. He has performed both roles admirably, taking wickets when needed as well as keeping batsmen in check. Expect more of the same tomorrow.

Prime numbers

  • Lasith Malinga's strike-rate and average in this IPL are both under ten, and his economy rate is below six
  • Mumbai and Delhi are among the four IPL teams who have an overall scoring rate exceeding eight an over

The chatter

"If we go too hard, we can get out for 95 also. We have to decide based on the track."
Sachin Tendulkar is not going to abandon Mumbai's steady approach at the top of the order

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo