Kagiso Rabada, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel Delhi Capitals IPL 2019
Delhi Capitals will look for a fourth straight win (AFP Photo)

Five wins and three defeats – separated by only net-run rate. A look at the IPL standings and one would get the idea that Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians are on an equal footing. Dig a little deeper and DC seem a slightly stronger just on recent form. They have enjoyed an excellent away form, having romped to three consecutive victories in a row during which they have beaten Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad. On the other hand, MI have played their last three matches at home, winning two and losing one. Add to it their previous meeting when DC prevailed in a 37-run win, also an away win.

The two teams now meet to further solidify their chances of making the cut for the playoffs. The venue makes their tasks trickier. While teams of the likes of Chennai Super Kings have been unbeatable at home, DC have struggled. Feroz Shah Kotla hasn’t been kind to them this season and even their head coach Ricky Ponting has criticised it has the ‘worst ever’ following a defeat to SRH when they struggled their way to 129/8 in chase of 132 with the match dominated by spinners.

It’s been two weeks since Kotla last hosted a match. The message to the groundsmen is clear – prepare a track that suits the DC. MI makes their task trickier as well. Should they dish out a belter, they will end up giving a freehand to in-form Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya. Should they produce a bouncy surface, it will again be familiar conditions for MI who have enjoyed similar pitches at Wankhede.

What: Delhi Capitals vs Mumbai Indians

When: April 18, Thursday

Venue: Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

Time: 8:00pm (IST)

Weather: Generally clear, with temperature hovering between 29 to 20 degrees Celsius

Teams

DC

They made two changes in their previous match – both successful to varying degrees. Amit Mishra replaced Rahul Tewatia, bowled three overs for 13 runs. Colin Munro walked in replacing namesake Colin Ingram and struck 24-ball 40. Opener Prithvi Shaw’s form is a concern though. Since his 99 against KKR, he has aggregated 57 runs from five innings. They have a specialist replacement in Manjot Kalra – Shaw’s U-19 World Cup winning teammate. Will DC drop him?

Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw/Manjot Kalra, Shreyas Iyer (captain), Rishabh Pant (wk), Colin Munro, Chris Morris, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Keemo Paul, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma

MI

Injury has ended Alzarri Joseph’s maiden IPL season after a record-breaking start to it. Lasith Malinga, whom he had replaced, walked in and took four wickets in a five-wicket win against RCB. So, they are pretty much sorted in the pace department. Highly unlikely they will tinker with their playing XI.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (captain), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jason Behrendorff, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah

Head-to-Head

Played: 23

Won by DC: 12

Won by MI: 11

Quotes

“I think we are peaking at the right time in this tournament, it was a bit of a slow start but we have now won three in a row on the road against some strong teams.” – Colin Munro