DC vs MI: What can we expect from today’s IPL match?

Thursday’s IPL 2019 match is between hosts Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians at the Feroz Shah Kotla today.

Delhi it at second place on the IPL 2019 points table with five wins out of eight matches. Three-time IPL winners MI are at third place with as many points – 10.

The last time Delhi played Mumbai was when the tournament started. Delhi won that match, spurred by Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 27-ball 78, Delhi beat Mumbai by 37 runs at the Wankhede Stadium.

Here are the talking points ahead of tonight’s match:

What will Rishabh Pant’s reply be?

The last time Delhi met Mumbai, Pant stunned the home team with a flurry of boundaries. But since then he’s not crossed 46 and his haphazard modes of dismissals may have gone against him this week when the BCCI selectors met to name India’s World Cup squad. (VIDEO: Delhi Capitals aim for fourth straight win)

Pant, India’s wicketkeeper in Tests, was dropped from the ODI squad despite having scored more runs and claimed more dismissals than Dinesh Karthik. The other World Cup omission, Ambati Rayudu, took to Twitter with a sly dig at the selectors. What will Pant’s response be?

Lasith Malinga took 4/31 as MI restricted RCB to 171/7 in their last game. © BCCI

Pace is pace, but will spin prove the key?

Two form teams, with good pace bowling attacks. Mumbai’s pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Jason Behrendorff and Lasith Malinga is rivalled by Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, Ishant Sharma and Keemo Paul. On the Feroz Shah Kotla surface that aids spin, however, the fact that Delhi can call on Axar Patel and Amit Mishra to bowl spin and have Paul with his smart variations in pace gives them a slight edge. They also have Sandeep Lamichhane, the Nepal legspinner, in the squad.

Mumbai’s spinners have not managed to do much this IPL. Krunal Pandya has taken five wickets in eight matches at an economy of 8.28. Rahul Chahar has three wickets from five matches. Mayank Markanda has one from two outings. (DC vs MI: Likely XIs, head to head, predictions)

Slow the pace, reap the rewards has been the mantra at the Kotla – and in this regards, Delhi have the upper hand with their attack.

Contrasting fortunes for the Pandyas

Mumbai’s middle order is bolstered by Hardik Pandya, who has put in some excellent cameos this season. His six-hitting skills have often bailed Mumbai out of trouble, most recently when he stunned Royal Challengers Bangalore. The Baroda allrounder has been in tremendous form with the bat this IPL, with 186 runs at a strike-rate in excess of 191. (Dream11 Predictions: The best players to pick for DC vs MI)

His brother Krunal, however, has not made an impact with bat or ball. Could it be time for Mumbai to drop the elder Pandya?

Prithvi Shaw Delhi Capitals 2019 form
Prithvi Shaw has been a disappointment for Delhi Capitals, barring one innings. © IANS

Time for Prithvi to ‘Shaw’ what he’s worth

Hopes were high from teenaged Prithvi Shaw when IPL 2019 began, owing to his outrageous talent and the fact that he had recovered from the gruesome ankle injury suffered in Australia. But barring one match in which he made 99, Shaw has not been consistent. Subtract that 99, and his season tally for DC stands at 88 runs from seven innings.

His problem has mainly been getting starts, and seeing out spin early on in games. Shaw’s Under-19 World Cup-winning team-mate Manjot Kalra is someone who the management could replace him with, but given the investment in Shaw he may get another chance.

A big score against Mumbai could put Shaw back in a good spot.

Can Delhi improve their home record?

Of Delhi’s five wins this season, four have come on the road. At home at the Feroz Shah Kotla, they have lost two and won one – that too in the Super Over.

Mumbai Indians have struggled at the Kotla, which statistically is their worst away venue in the tournament’s history.