Preview by Aayush Puthran

Despite all the chaos, drama and number crunching that ensued in the last couple of weeks, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals finished as the top teams on the points table, much like they were expected to at the half-way mark of the tournament. But given how the events unfolded, the vulnerabilities of even the best teams in the competition were exposed. But in Qualifier 1, the stakes are simple – you win and reserve a seat for the final. Even though there is a buffer of one loss, it’s not a route any team would like to take.

Delhi Capitals faltered more than Mumbai Indians did on their way to the playoffs. A few players were injured, several went through a loss of form and some couldn’t adapt well enough to the unpredictable nature of the conditions. After their third defeat, they had maintained that there was no need to panic and the focus had to be on the process. However, after a fourth defeat on the trot, they found the need to make changes to the plans and the approach. And even as the Capitals ended their victory drought, questions still linger over the potency of their batting line-up, and especially the inability of the openers to provide strong starts.

Mumbai Indians had it easier, being able to afford the luxury of resting their prime fast bowlers in the last league game. Even though it was an inconsequential match for them, it remains to be seen if their “worst performance of the season” will have its after-effects on the team in a game with a turnaround time of less than 48 hours. Despite their commanding show this season, Dubai has been the venue where MI have had the least success, winning only one out of their three games. The good news though, apart from the fact that both their losses were in the Super Overs, is that the one victory was a comprehensive one against Delhi. In fact Mumbai are the one of only two teams against whom Delhi hasn’t won a game this season.

Delhi, after a good start, have struggled by the sluggish nature of the wicket and the unpredictability over dew coming into play has left them clueless with their plans. So much so that they are happier losing the toss. The inclusion of Daniel Sams, though, helps them cover that aspect with the ball and enables them to field possibly the best bowling attack in the competition. Much like Mumbai Indians, all their players have had an impact at some point or the other in the tournament, ensuring that the reliance isn’t too heavy on certain players. What, however, remains to be seen is whether they can all turn up together on the day to ensure a complete performance.

When: Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Capitals, Qualifier 1, Thursday, November 5, 2020, 19:30 IST

Where:Dubai International Stadium

What to expect: Mumbai Indians, even in their losses, have managed to post 170+ totals at the venue. The sluggish nature of the wicket could test the batsmen and the question mark over dew still remains. Even though there won’t be a lot of wind, the temperature is expected to hover around the late 20s, which shouldn’t be testing on the players.

Team News:

Mumbai Indians:Rohit Sharma didn’t look in trouble after returning from a hamstring injury in the game against SRH. He should lead the team in the playoffs, which is also likely to see the return of Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Hardik Pandya.

Likely XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile/James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah

Delhi Capitals: Even as Daniel Sams proved expensive in the death overs, Delhi Capitals reaped the rewards of his presence in the bowling line-up. DC are likely to go unchanged with Shimron Hetmyer likely to remain on the bench.

Likely XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Daniel Sams, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje

Did you know?

– A win would give Delhi their maiden appearance in the final – the only side from the eight original franchises not to make it to the final yet.

– Rishabh Pant has hit only three sixes in the death (overs 16-20) this season while Kieron Pollard has hit 20 and Hardik Pandya has hit 14

What they said:

“Our bowling line up is also as good as anyone in the tournament and I think we are the team that no one really wants to play because they know we play well and we can do some damage. We have won tight games and that makes a huge difference.” Shane Bond, Mumbai Indians’ bowling coach.

“We are one of the best teams in the tournament and we need to stick to the basics and if we try and execute our plans, the results will come.” Shreyas Iyer, Delhi Capitals captain

Delhi Capitals Squad: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer(c), Rishabh Pant(w), Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Sams, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Harshal Patel, Shimron Hetmyer, Mohit Sharma, Alex Carey, Avesh Khan, Praveen Dubey, Sandeep Lamichhane, Keemo Paul, Tushar Deshpande, Lalit Yadav

Mumbai Indians Squad: Rohit Sharma(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare, Mitchell McClenaghan, Chris Lynn, Jayant Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, Sherfane Rutherford, Digvijay Deshmukh, Prince Balwant Rai, Nathan Coulter-Nile

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