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Winless teams look to kickstart season

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Dasgupta: Rohit needs to give himself some time (3:35)

James Faulkner and Deep Dasgupta preview Sunday's match between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils (3:35)

Big Picture

Two games each, two losses each. It doesn't mean too much given the length of an IPL season. Mumbai Indians have come back from worse starts and gone on to win titles, and both they and Delhi Daredevils can tell themselves their results so far do not fully reflect how they have played. Mumbai have lost two excruciatingly tight games, one of which they had no business losing. Daredevils could say they got on the wrong end of DLS in their last match.

But the table simply says both teams have played two and lost two. Both teams need to start winning, ASAP.

There's nothing in the personnel or balance of either side to suggest they can't do this, but some of the biggest names from both sides are yet to fire this season. We could, therefore, be one Glenn Maxwell or Rohit Sharma innings, or one Jasprit Bumrah or Trent Boult spell, from seeing their respective teams shoot up the table.

One of these two teams, however, will lose Saturday's game, their third in a row, and that - for all of Mumbai's past escapades - will be a hard place to rebound from.

In the news

Hardik Pandya missed Mumbai's last match; he did not travel to Hyderabad having suffered a twisted ankle earlier. He has not regained 100% fitness yet and did not train full tilt on Friday evening. He bowled for under 20 minutes in the nets and batted for a marginally longer duration, taking throwdowns from batting coach Robin Singh and a few others; that means his participation on Saturday is still in doubt.

The likely XIs

Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Ishan Kishan (wk), 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Krunal Pandya, 6 Hardik Pandya/Ben Cutting, 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Mitchell McClenaghan/Pradeep Sangwan, 9 Mayank Markande, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Delhi Daredevils: 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Colin Munro, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Chris Morris, 7 Vijay Shankar, 8 Rahul Tewatia, 9 Shahbaz Nadeem, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Trent Boult

Stats that matter

  • Mumbai have won four of their last five matches against Daredevils, and have won five of their six meetings at the Wankhede overall

  • Rahul Tewatia has been among this season's best-performing under-the-radar players. He has only picked up one wicket, but, according to ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats, has conceded 12.95 runs less than par over the course of his eight overs so far. Only Sunil Narine (22.46) and Rashid Khan (15.64) have done better.

  • Mumbai's top three haven't yet hit their stride this season, which explains why they have the worst Powerplay run rate (7.75) of all eight teams so far.

  • Since the start of 2015, Evin Lewis has a strike rate of 123.7 against left-arm pace. In the same period, he has scored at 137.7 against offspin and at a 150-plus strike rate against all other kinds of bowling. It will be interesting to see how he goes against Trent Boult, whom he is yet to face in T20 cricket.

  • Glenn Maxwell, on the other hand, has relished batting against all of Mumbai's left-arm seamers. In all T20s, he has scored 15 runs off five balls against Pradeep Sangwan, 37 off 15 against Mitchell McClenaghan, and 13 off four against Mustafizur Rahman - all this while only being dismissed once.

Strategy punt

In their opening match against Kings XI Punjab, Daredevils batted first and sent out a top four of Munro, Gambhir, Iyer and Shankar. Against Rajasthan Royals, their top four consisted of Maxwell, Munro, Pant and Morris. They were forced into this since they had to chase a revised target, but how dangerous did that line-up look compared to the first one?

This, perhaps, could be a front-loaded blueprint for the rest of their season, with perhaps Morris held back for the slog overs; and Gambhir playing the role of a firefighting No. 4 or No. 5 in case Daredevils lose early wickets, and remaining happy not to get a hit if the power-hitters really get going.

Fantasy pick

Batsmen have been in control against only 27 of the 47 balls (57.45%) they have faced from Mustafizur Rahman so far this season. It suggests the left-armer is back to his best in terms of his control over his length and variations, and all that rhythm makes it likely he'll earn valuable fantasy points on Saturday too.