We've got as good a batting line-up as anyone's in the tournament, and our bowling line-up's as good as anyone's in the tournament. We are a team that no one really wants to play, because they know that if we play well we can do some damageShane Bond
Having already beaten the Delhi Capitals in the two matches they have played this IPL, the Mumbai Indians bowling coach Shane Bond is "completely confident" of winning Qualifier 1 on Thursday, which will put the defending champions directly in the final. Bond talked up the four-time winners and group-stage toppers further, saying that no rivals want to take on the Mumbai Indians because they will "do some damage" both with the ball and with the bat.
Having become the first team to qualify for the playoffs, the Mumbai Indians rested their strike bowling pair of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, along with Hardik Pandya, who has not featured in the last two matches, against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last league game. They lost, allowing the Sunrisers to become the fourth team to qualify for the playoffs.
Bond admitted that Mumbai "did not play well" and were "not as accurate as what we needed to be", but was not too bothered by the defeat. "We've played brilliantly all season," he said. "I've been here a couple of times, where we have been in SRH's position, and lost in 2016 and 2018. And we know the stresses of having to win those games when the playoff race is tight.
"Last year and this year, we have played beautifully. We have qualified well in advance, which always takes the pressure off. So to be in a position to be able to rest players is a real bonus for us.
"We know that if we turn up with the attitude I know we will and the talent and the quality that we've got, and we execute our gameplan, we are always very, very tough to beat. So, I go into this game (against the Capitals) completely confident that we're going to win it."
Qualifier 1 will be played in Dubai, where the two teams have had mixed fortunes. The Mumbai Indians have lost two out of the three matches at the venue, with both defeats coming in Super Overs. The Capitals have played seven matches in Dubai, losing three of them while winning four, including once in a Super Over.
One of those defeats for the Capitals, on October 31, came against the Mumbai Indians, where Boult and Bumrah shattered the opposition with three wickets each in a one-sided contest. In the first fixture, though, the Capitals took the games deep, but they still lost by five wickets with two balls to spare. That victory was set up by the Mumbai Indians top order of Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav, who both made 53s, followed by a powerful cameo from Ishan Kishan, who blasted 28 from 15 balls to wrap up the chase.
Those three have remained Mumbai's best batsmen and their success has made up the absence of Rohit Sharma, who had to sit out four matches with a hamstring injury before returning against the Sunrisers.
Bond said he was happy vice-captain Kieron Pollard had managed to get enough batting time against the Sunrisers, which would keep the team in good stead in the playoffs.
"When our top order is scoring runs, we are scoring big runs. So, look, the bonus from the batting point of view was that Kieron Pollard got to face 20 balls and whacked it, so that puts him in great shape for the finals, because he hasn't had too much batting," he said. "So, in terms of that, it's worked out pretty good. And look, we've got as good a batting line-up as anyone's in the tournament, and our bowling line-up's as good as anyone's in the tournament. We are a team that no one really wants to play, because they know that if we play well we can do some damage.
"We move into the finals now, where we have a whole lot of players who have experienced winning the tournament, they know how to win, we have won tight games, so we go in there with that behind us and that makes a huge difference."