Mumbai in search of ideal batting formula
Match factsApril 21, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
Big PictureDelhi Daredevils are still without a win in IPL 2013. They've played six games, managed to tie one, but have zero points. Their confidence would have taken a particularly brutal beating in their previous game, against Chennai Super Kings, when they were shot out for 83 - the lowest total so far this IPL - while chasing 170. They have ten games to go in the group stages; they are not yet ruled out of the playoffs, but to progress they'll have to win as much as possible and then hope other results go in their favour.
The only losing margin bigger than Daredevils' 86-run defeat this season was Mumbai Indians' 87-run loss a day before to Rajasthan Royals. Mumbai are widely accepted as a favourite to win the tournament with their line-up of stars - both local and overseas - but they are yet to get their batting working at optimal level. Apart from the failure of the Tendulkar-Ponting combine, they have not had enough batsmen contributing. While Dinesh Karthik has been in contention for the orange cap all through and Rohit Sharma has played a couple of big innings, the rest of the batsmen have not touched an aggregate of 100 in five games. Kieron Pollard, who is third on their run-charts with 95, has batted too low too often. Do they persist with the old hands at the top? Do they push Kieron Pollard up to No. 4? Questions they'll have to address, ahead of the Daredevils game.
Form guideDelhi Daredevils LLLLL (most recent first)
Mumbai Indian LWWWL
Players to watchDavid Warner has had a tough time of late. As he tweeted on Thursday, he has "not had much luck in India" - after losing the India-Australia Tests 0-4, he is now 0-6 down with Delhi Daredevils. And the frustration seems to be showing. After Sunrisers' Cameron White had edged the ball into his grille and Warner had extracted it last week, Warner appealed - albeit in jest - for a catch. In Daredevils' previous game, Warner had appealed - this time in all seriousness - for an obstructing the field decision against MS Dhoni. His batting has fallen away too, with scores of 1, 15 and 0 following two half-centuries in Daredevils' first three games. If he is able to channel his frustration into aggression with the bat on Sunday, it could spell trouble for Mumbai.
Will Ricky Ponting open at the Feroz Shah Kotla? Will he even play? Tendulkar has not been in the best of touch either, but knocked off 44 off 29 against Pune Warriors. Ponting, on the other hand, has shown no such hint of coming into form; he has scores of 28, 6, 0, 14, and 4, and he has taken 75 balls to score those 52 runs. Still, most of his team-mates have been all praise for his captaincy. It all adds up to a tough choice for Ponting. After the loss to Royals, he said: "We will think about changing the team a bit." A reshuffle on the cards then? Or will Ponting do a Sangakkara and drop himself? That could open up a slot for Glenn Maxwell, Mumbai's million-dollar recruit who five games into the season is still warming the bench.
Stats and Trivia
- Delhi Daredevils have lost eight IPL games in a row. If they lose to Mumbai Indians, they will move to joint-second (with Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab) on the list of longest losing streaks in the IPL. Pune Warriors top the list with 11
- Kieron Pollard is four catches short of 100 T20 catches. When he gets there, he'll be only the second player to do so behind David Hussey
"Barring a couple of games we haven't got a good start yet, but they are the kind of players we all know can produce results and I am sure they will deliver."
Dinesh Karthik on Mumbai Indians' openers
"I know the team has many players of proven quality and others who have immense talent and hunger to succeed at this level and higher."
Viv Richards, who has taken an advisory role with Delhi Daredevils
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo