The Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Capitals, the finalists of IPL 2020, will go face to face for the first time this season on Tuesday.
Both teams have two wins in their first three games of this edition, and they have done that in conditions they don't generally get at their respective home grounds. Defending champions Mumbai have put up a masterclass in defending low totals on the slow Chepauk pitches, while the Capitals chased down daunting ones with ease at the dewy Wankhede Stadium.
The Capitals will now have to adjust to the conditions in Chennai. At the Wankhede, their batters enjoyed the ball coming on to the bat; that may not happen on Tuesday. What may work in their favour, though, is the conditions in Chennai wouldn't be very different from the ones they get in Delhi. Having said that, they still need to figure out their best XI, especially the bowling unit with Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav still recovering from their heel and calf issues respectively.
Mumbai's playing XI, on the other hand, picks itself, barring one slot that they tinker with depending on the pitch and the opposition. Their bowling has been top-notch but the batting has lacked the usual firepower. After three outings, Suryakumar Yadav's 56 against the Kolkata Knight Riders remains the only 50-plus score for them. And while they have adapted well to the Chennai conditions, the Capitals too may feel equally at home there.
Mumbai could consider playing offspinner Jayant Yadav in place of Adam Milne. Not only because the Chepauk pitches have been conducive to spin, two of the Capitals' main batters - Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant - are left-handers. Mumbai had used the same ploy against the Capitals in last year's final too. In his brief IPL career, Jayant has picked up six wickets, all six of them of left-hand batters.
The Capitals could play legspinner Amit Mishra in place of left-arm seamer Lukman Meriwala. Mishra has an impressive head-to-head record against Rohit Sharma (80 runs in 85 balls, six dismissals), Quinton de Kock (11 runs in 12 balls, no dismissal) and Ishan Kishan (six runs in two balls, two dismissals). Only Sunil Narine (eight times) has dismissed Rohit more often in T20 cricket.
Stats that matter
Since 2019, Dhawan has a batting average of 41.40 and a strike rate of 143.24 in the IPL. Prior to that, those numbers were 33.26 and 123.53 respectively. Earlier, he used to be predominantly an off-side player, but recently he has added more shots to his repertoire to improve his leg-side game as well.
In IPL 2021, R Ashwin has picked up just one wicket so far in 11 overs.
Since 2017, Rohit has batted 57 times in the top four in the IPL. In those innings, he has an average of 26.66 and a strike rate of 127.52. In the same timeframe, Ajinkya Rahane has played 52 innings in the top four, averaging 25.83 at a strike rate of 122.20. No other top-four batter who averages under 30 and strikes below 130 in that period has played more than 25 innings.