Eyeing a play-off berth, defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will take on Delhi Daredevils (DD) in a must-win game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Ferozshah Kotla here on Sunday.
While Delhi have nothing to lose after being already out of the race for the play-offs, the Rohit Sharma-led side still have a chance to advance to the next stage, which only a win in their last league encounter and better net run-rate (NRR) could gurantee them.
Apart from Mumbai, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) share 12 points each and with a sole match remaining for them, any of the four could make to the final four.
With the race for the play-offs becoming an interesting scenario, Mumbai will have to register a win with a huge margin to further boost their chance.
After a lacklustre show in the first half of the season, Mumbai finally shifted gears to win four of their last five games, keeping themselves alive in the cash-rich league. In their last game, Mumbai pipped Punjab by a meagre three-run margin. However, what could be a major relief for the team management would be Keiron Pollard finding his touch back.
Mumbai’s batting mostly relies on opener Suryakumar Yadav, who as amassed 500 runs 13 innings averaging around 38. He has found support from his partner Evin Lewis but, only on few occassions.
Both the openers now carry the responsibility of handing a decent start to Mumbai, either to chase or for putting a good total on board.
Delhi, on the other hand, will once again hope to entertain the fans with fireworks from Rishabh Pant, skipper Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw and Jason Roy.
With nothing to lose, Delhi is expected to test their bench. In such a scenario, the likes of Manjot Kalra, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Sayan Ghosh may get a look-in.
In Pune, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) face the herculean task of stopping a star-studded Chennai Super Kings to seal a play-off berth when the two sides face-off in their last IPL league game at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
Apart from Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Mumbai Indians (MI) also share 12 points each and with a sole match remaining for them, any of the four could make to the final four.
With the race for the play-offs becoming an interesting scenario, Punjab will have to register a win with a huge margin as their net run-rate reads a poor -0.490.
The Ravichandran Ashwin-led side kicked-off the 2018 season on a decent note, winning five of their first six games but faultered in the business end of the league.
Barring opener KL Rahul, who has 652 runs from 13 innings, Punjab have failed to click as a unit. – IANS
Chris Gayle, the self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’, came out with some impressive knocks in the first half of the season but failed to maintain his form.
Aaron Finch, Karun Nair, Marcus Stonis, Mayank Agarwal and Yuvraj Singh have failed to score so far.
In the bowling department, Andrew Tye has single-handedly led the pace attack with 24 wickets from 13 games and is currently the leading wicket taker in the league.
Teenaged Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman (14 wickets) has also been impressive while pacer Ankit Rajpoot (eight wickets), off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (six wickets) and medium-pacer Mohit Sharma (six wickets) need to raise the bar against Chennai.
On the other hand, having already qualified for the play-offs, Chennai will be eager to finish the league stage at th top spot.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side were handed a 34-run defeat by Delhi Daredevils in their last game on Friday.
For Chennai, Ambati Rayadu has been brilliant so far, delivering on most occasions. He has been amongst the runs nd has received good support from his partner Shane Watson.
Playing 13 innings, Rayudu has 585 runs while the Australian all-rounder has gathered 438 runs.
Skipper Dhoni (430 runs), has once again silenced his critics while Suresh Raina, who failed with the bat against Delhi, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja will also need to come good with the bat on Sunday.
Deepak Chahar is back from injury which has also bolstered the yellow brigade’s pace attack.
Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi have also emerged with breakthroughs whenever the side needed. However, Bravo needs to learn from his last game, where he was hammered for 26 runs in the final over.
Come this Sunday, it could be an another edge of the seat match for fans as both the sides will be hungry for a victory in the last league game of the season.