Out-of-form Mumbai desperate for recovery
Match factsMay 8, 2009
Start time 16.30 local, (14:30 GMT)
Mumbai Indians had themselves to blame for the collapse against Deccan Chargers which deprived them of a spot in the top four. They start underdogs against Delhi Daredevils who've played fewer games than the rest of the teams but still sit third in the points table. Mumbai have lost each time they have chased this season, squandering winning positions to slip down to seventh place, just above the struggling Kolkata Knight Riders. Their capitulation under pressure, and failure to finish off games hurt them badly last season, and the trend this year is no different. Equally worrying has been their excessive reliance on JP Duminy to hole them out of difficult situations. His three 40-plus scores, including two half-centuries, in Mumbai's three defeats while chasing demonstrate the huge responsibility he's had to bear amid little support from his team-mates. Mumbai need a win desperately, and though a positive result may not haul them into the top four, it will mark a step towards a much-needed turnaround in a crucial phase in the tournament.
Delhi won't worry too much about points, for as much as they would want to regain the No.1 spot, their place in the top four, for the moment, remains safe. They have been boosted by the consistency of AB de Villiers, and especially Tillakaratne Dilshan. And with their new opening combination of David Warner and Gautam Gambhir coming good against Kolkata, the tournament's dominant team looks good to consolidate its impressive run.
Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)
Mumbai Indians: LLWLW
Mumbai's new inclusions Dhawal Kulkarni and Rohan Raje had a good outing against Deccan, but Harbhajan Singh has gone wicketless in his last three games. Sachin Tendulkar was averaging 81 after Mumbai's first three games, but since then he's only managed 48 runs in his last four innings.
Delhi Daredevils: WLWLW
The fast-bowling trio of Dirk Nannes, Ashish Nehra and Pradeep Sangwan have been fairly consistent, though Nannes had an off day against Kolkata. The three have taken 24 wickets at 24.9, with Nehra being the leading wicket-taker. Gambhir, desperate for runs, top-scored against Kolkata with a lucky 71 - he was dropped twice - but the runs will give him some much-needed confidence in a relatively disappointing IPL.
Watch out for
Virender Sehwag and Gambhir had averaged 23.8 for the first wicket, while Warner and Gambhir have averaged 40 in their two games together. Tweaks in the opening combination notwithstanding, their battle against Mumbai's new-look bowling attack with Raje and Kulkarni, backed up by Lasith Malinga, who put in a disciplined effort in their previous game, will make for an interesting contest. Malinga has been particularly impressive, with 12 wickets in seven games at 10.66, conceding just over five an over.
Delhi may not tinker too much with their line-up, though Sehwag could make a comeback after missing two games. In the event of his inclusion, Mithun Manhas may be asked to sit out, which also means Daniel Vettori would have to miss out for Warner to play.
Delhi Daredevils (probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Dinesh Karthik, 7 Rajat Bhatia, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Pradeep Sangwan, 10 Ashish Nehra, 11 Dirk Nannes
Mumbai made three changes to their team for their game against Deccan, leaving out Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane to play Saurabh Tiwary. On the bowling front, Kulkarni and Raje were inducted after Zaheer Khan was ruled out by a shoulder injury. The three players look likely to retain their places, but Abhishek Nayar's injudicious sweep at a critical stage in Mumbai's previous game - he missed and was bowled - would certainly not have gone down well with the team's think-tank. Nor would have Harbhajan Singh's swipe the next ball; his performance with the ball, too, has been fairly low key but his exclusion would prove a big gamble.
Mumbai Indians (probable): 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 JP Duminy, 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Abhishek Nayar/Jaidev Shah, 6 Saurabh Tiwary, 7 Pinal Shah, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Rohan Raje, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Lasith Malinga.
Stats and trivia
Dilshan has scored 231 runs at an average of 77 in seven matches, while JP Duminy has made 238 at 47.60 in as many games. Both are the highest run-getters for their teams this season.
Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar have averaged 31.14 for the first wicket, but have only averaged 12 in the last four games.
The teams won a game each when they went head-to-head last season. Nehra, Shaun Pollock and Kulkarni combined to overcome an onslaught from Sehwag and seal a 29-run win for Mumbai in the first game. The second game was much more closely-fought with Mumbai letting it slip after limiting Delhi to 89 for 4 in pursuit of 177, to eventually lose by five wickets on the penultimate ball.
Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo