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The second last league game of IPL 2018 will be played between the Delhi Daredevils and the Mumbai Indians. It is a game that will be watched very closely by the entire league because its outcome is going to affect many people. Delhi Daredevils are out of the running for a playoff spot and assured of a last-place finish but the Mumbai Indians are very much alive in the tournament. A win will almost certainly assure them of a place in the playoffs thanks to their excellent net run-rate.
Mumbai’s victory or loss will affect the fortunes of other potential qualifiers as well as the lineup for the playoffs. The Delhi Daredevils may suddenly find that their fanbase has swelled to all parts of India for this match!
Is a team that has nothing to gain or lose a dangerous opponent or one that struggles to motivate itself for the fight? On the evidence of the last match that Delhi Daredevils played, we would have to say dangerous.
Delhi Daredevils picked only three overseas players in their team for the last match and we have no doubt that some further experimentation with the selection could be seen against Mumbai Indians as well.
It is clear that the team management is focusing on the upcoming season and wants to give its players a chance to play freely. This strategy could result in a more aggressive Delhi Daredevils team than we have seen this season or backfire spectacularly.
A couple of youngsters have really stood out for the Delhi Daredevils even in this abysmal season. The first would have to Rishab Pant who is unconventional but extremely effective at T20 cricket. He is the second highest scorer of the tournament so far with just over 600 runs to his name. His last inning at home could be an opportunity for Pant to show what he is made of and push for a place in the Indian team.
Similarly, batsmen Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw have also impressed at the top of the order. Both the players have the ability to score quickly and clear the boundaries when they need to.
The problem for the Delhi Daredevils has been their overseas batsmen. Only Jason Roy played one good inning at the top of the order but all the rest were big disappointments. Colin Munro and Glenn Maxwell came into the tournament as two of the top T20 batsmen in the world but they have failed miserably.
With Vijay Shankar and Abhishek Sharma batting at 5 and 6 for Delhi, the team needs to find a way to give its batting some more depth for next season.
Trent Boult and Sandeep Lamichhane have been impressive with the ball but support from the other bowlers has been quite poor. Amit Mishra has hit some form in the latter stages of the tournament and Avesh Khan promises to be a useful bowler down the line, however, there is no question the Delhi Daredevils bowling attack has let them down massively.
The Delhi Daredevils would love to end their season on a winning note but they will be up against a quality Mumbai Indians side that will test every facet of this team.
Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, RR Pant, Glenn Maxwell, V Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Harshal Patel, Amit Mishra, LE Plunkett, Sandeep Lamichhane, TA Boult.
The Mumbai Indians are on the verge of completing another fantastic comeback into this tournament. They just need to win their last match and ensure that they will be finishing in the top-4 of the IPL, a feat that looked near impossible at the halfway stage.
To be fair to the Mumbai Indians, though, they have played good cricket more often than not in this tournament. Finding themselves at the receiving ends of some remarkable knocks and close losses repeatedly could not have been factored in by any team.
Now, though, the Mumbai Indians have got their act together and will be confident coming up against the bottom-placed team of this tournament. Every facet of the Mumbai Indians team looks covered.
They have the batsmen in form, a bowling side that is very versatile, and their fielding is clicking as well. The only thing we are worried about is their tactics. Rohit Sharma is having one of his worst IPL’s and that seems to be hampering his ability take decisions on the field.
His own batting position is being shunted up and down without any justifiable reason. The Mumbai Indians coach needs to step in and tell Rohit how important he is at this stage of the tournament. As the best batsman in this side, he needs to back himself and bat at no lower than number 3.
The Mumbai Indians batting is pretty strong even with a misfiring Rohit Sharma. Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, and Krunal Pandya are all very capable batsmen that have been scoring runs consistently.
Against a Delhi Daredevils bowling lineup that is not the most threatening, we think all the batsmen will fancy their chances. Evin Lewis is one name that stands out as someone who could really take advantage of a decent pitch and some small boundaries.
Mumbai Indians escaped in the last match thanks to an excellent bowling performance by Jasprit Bumrah. He is a gun player that started the season a little off color but is returning to his best at just the right time.
With Hardik Pandya and Mitchell McClenaghan taking wickets up top, Ben Cutting capable of firing in the yorkers, and spin options provided by Mayank Markande and Krunal Pandya, the Mumbai bowling attack is vastly superior to the Delhi Daredevils.
In fact, Delhi has been playing with basically four batsmen so it would not surprise us to see them rolled over by the Mumbai Indians if they lose a couple of wickets early.
SA Yadav, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mayank Markande, JJ Bumrah, Mustafizur Rahman.
The team winning the toss could look to bat first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
A hot day with no chance of rain has been forecast for match day in Delhi so far. There was some evidence of the pitch at the Ferozshah Kotla slowing up as the match progressed in the last match and the hot sun could make matters worse in this match as well.
A score of around 160 could be a winning total although the small boundaries make defending totals quite tough.
We think this is going to be a match where spinners and bowlers who bowl cutters will be very difficult to score off.
The Delhi Daredevils beat the Mumbai Indians in their first encounter this season. The Mumbai Indians hold a 3-2 advantage over the Delhi Daredevils in their last five matches that they have played against each other.
At this stage of the tournament where the Daredevils are in an experimental mode and the Mumbai Indians are firing on all cylinders, it is difficult to go against the favorites. We think that the Mumbai Indians will make a statement and march into the playoffs.
Back the Mumbai Indians to win.
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