Preview: Litmus test for Delhi against table-topping Mumbai

Delhi will look to carry their winning momentum against high-flying Mumbai AFP

By Jamie Alter

Mumbai: May 6, 2011

Virender Sehwag and his Delhi Daredevils have come out on top on one make-or-break match rather spectacularly but now they face another crucial encounter, against table-toppers Mumbai Indians on their home ground and in front of the most boisterous crowd. A loss to MI will seriously dent their chances of going further, but a win will suddenly put the pressure on Rajasthan Royals, Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Royal Challengers Bangalore, on 11, 10 and nine points respectively.

To stay in the running for the knock-out stage, DD have to win all their remaining four matches. A day after Sehwag single-handedly inspired them to victory over Deccan Chargers, DD are faced with their toughest match since they began the competition, against MI who completely trounced them on that fateful day in Delhi. MI have since surged to the top and maintained that consistency, while DD floundered at the bottom of the table before recently moving up three places. DD have only eight points and a negative run-rate, and know that even if they win against MI, they will have another critical game against Chennai Super Kings.

MI have no such worries as their qualification for the next round is confirmed. With 14 points from nine matches, they have been the team to beat in the competition and will be buoyed by a return to the Wankhede. Sachin Tendulkar s form has gone off the radar recently but the support cast has stepped up, most significantly Kieron Pollard and the reserve utility of Tirumalasetti Suman.

They are clearly the better side, with a stronger middle order, Twenty20 s best pace bowler, an offspinner in form and a potent first-change in Munaf Patel. DD have constantly shuffled their bowling and don t have a great pace attack, so plenty falls on Morne Morkel s shoulders. How Sehwag, Naman Ojha, Venugopal Rao and one of Aaron Finch or David Warner match up against Lasith Malinga, Munaf and Harbhajan Singh could well decide how this one ends.

Teams:

MI (Probable): Aiden Blizzard, Sachin Tendulkar (c), Ambati Rayudu (wk), Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds, Kieron Pollard, Tirumalasetti Suman, Harbhajan Singh, Abu Nechim, Lasith Malinga, Munaf Patel.

DD (Probable): David Warner/Aaron Finch, Virender Sehwag (c), Naman Ojha (wk), Travis Birt, Venugopal Rao, James Hopes, Irfan Pathan, Yogesh Nagar, Ajit Agarkar, Morne Morkel, Aavishkar Salvi.

Time: 20.00 local (14.30 GMT)

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. He is the author of two books, The History of World Cup Cricket and Field of Dreams: The Story of the Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium. His twitter feed is @jamie_alter)