Kieron Pollard (top left), Kevin Pietersen (top right), JP Duminy (bottom left) and Lendl Simmons (bottom right) © IANS


Mumbai Indians (MI) play Delhi Daredevils (DD) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 on May 23 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai for Match 51 of IPL 7. Mumbai have a faint chance of qualifying for the IPL 2014 playoffs, while Delhi have no hope. Shrikant Shankar highlights some of the key battles from the match.


Lendl Simmons vs Mohammed Shami: At the beginning of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014, nobody would have guessed that Lendl Simmons will be the first to score a century. But is the reality. Simmons has been in scintillating form ever since Mumbai Indians decided to play him. In their previous match, the West Indies batsman put the Kings XI Punjab bowlers to the sword as he scored a magnificent century off 61 deliveries. As he opens the batting, Simmons will face Mohammed Shami. Now the Indian pacer has not had the best of IPLs. With six wickets in 11 matches, it is clear that Shami has not delivered for Delhi Daredevils. On Friday, Simmons can continue his wondrous form.


Rohit Sharma vs JP Duminy: Rohit Sharma has been in very good form with the bat. That has coincided with Mumbai winning five of their last seven matches. Mumbai still have a remote chance of qualifying for the IPL 7 playoffs and for that, they need Rohit to come to the party at Wankhede Stadium. JP Duminy has been Delhi’s best player in this IPL season. He is eighth in the run-scoring charts. Duminy also bowls quite a bit and could be up against Rohit. He does take the ball away from the right-handers, albeit slightly, and that could be an interesting battle.


Kieron Pollard has been a consistent performer for Mumbai this year © IANS
Kieron Pollard has been a consistent performer for Mumbai this year © IANS


Kieron Pollard vs Imran Tahir: Kieron Pollard has had to up his game in IPL 7 as Mumbai have genuinely lacked quality in some areas. He does not score many runs due to the position he comes in, but when he gets going, there are not many bowlers who can stop the run-flow. Pollard treats spinners with utter disdain and his battle with Imran Tahir ought to be tantalising. Tahir has a tendency to bowl far too many googlies — sometimes more so than leg-breaks. There is a risk that Pollard could throw his wicket away trying to attack Tahir too much.


Harbhajan Singh vs Kevin Pietersen: Harbhajan Singh did not play the previous match as he was ill. But if he is fit, Harbhajan will take the field against Delhi. He is Mumbai’s best bowler and Mumbai will hope that he bowl well against Kevin Pietersen, the opposition’s best batsman. Pietersen has had a miserable run in IPL 7,  but it was at Wankhede Stadium in 2012 that Pietersen turned a Test series in England’s favour. He will have happy memories from his previous visit to Wankhede Stadium, and look to add more to it.


Dinesh Karthik has the ability to score quickly © IANS
Dinesh Karthik has the ability to score quickly © IANS


Shreyas Gopal vs Dinesh Karthik: The young leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal impressed against Punjab. He took two wickets, one of which was that of Glenn Maxwell. That will give him great confidence. Dinesh Karthik is one of a few players who have had better seasons in the IPL for Delhi. Karthik has done well behind the wickets and has taken charge of the run-scoring as well. He likes hitting the big shots over mid-on and mid-wicket. That will be difficult against Shreyas, who will turn the ball away.


Note: It could also happen that some of these players do not even play for various reasons, but overall it should be a good contest.


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(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)