Mumbai need to fire all cylinders if they wish to reach the playoffs © AFP
Mumbai need to fire on all cylinders if they wish to reach the playoffs © AFP

Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 has entered its climax, and the excitement is just getting more and more special. Mumbai Indians (MI) and Delhi Daredevils (DD) will take on each other at the neutral venue of Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Sunday in the Match 47 of the league. It is a crucial encounter for both the teams. MI have been inconsistent throughout this season. They made a brilliant comeback last year, but it appears that this time around things have got a little more complex. Full Cricket Scorecard: Delhi Daredevils  vs  Mumbai Indians , 47th T20 Match, IPL 2016 

Mumbai need to fire on all cylinders if they wish to reach the playoffs. DD are in a somewhat better position but they would want to finish off things once and for all by winning this game and thereby book their place in the playoffs. Put on your thinking caps as Bhaskar Narayan mulls over the probable XI for MI.

Top-order: Mumbai will open with Rohit Sharma, their leader. Unmukt Chand, who scored a nought in the last T20, is likely to make way for Parthiv Patel. The franchise’s think tank may even want to promote Jos Buttler in the batting order, maybe as Rohit’s partner instead of Parthiv. Radical changes are unlikely but some shuffling is likely to take place for the better. Ambati Rayudu will bat at No. 3. A lot will be expected from him as he is in sublime touch. Rayudu is the second-highest scorer after Rohit for MI in IPL 9. Being the in-form batsmen, he and Rohit have the duty to steady the ship in case Mumbai lose Parthiv or Buttler early on in the innings.

Middle-order: Buttler or Parthiv, whosoever among them does not gets to open with Rohit, will come two-down. Kieron Pollard and the two Pandya brothers — Krunal and Hardik — will come next. Rayudu had challenged Pollard a few days back to break the former’s record for the third longest six in this tournament. Will Pollard triumph in this test? It is tough, but it will be of interest to observe how he does if he actually succeeds though as per the probability theory this happening against DD is very less.

Bowling: Left-arm medium-fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan has emerged as the highest wicket-taker in IPL 9 so far. He will share the new ball with Tim Southee, who in high probability will bowl the first over. According to the match situation, batters at the crease and most importantly the pitch behaviour, either left-arm spinner Krunal, or medium pacer Jasprit Bumrah will be the first change. Rohit may prefer Harbhajan Singh over Krunal in case he feels an off-spinner is better suited to vex the batsmen in the powerplay. Medium-pacer Hardik will bowl in the middle overs.

Mumbai Indians’ likely XI (in batting order): Rohit Sharma (c), Parthiv Patel/Jos Buttler, Ambati Rayudu (wk), Jos Buttler/Parthiv Patel, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah

(Bhaskar Narayan is a reporter at CricketCountry and Criclife. He passionately follows the game and is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar. His Twitter handle is @Cricopathy)