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The memories of UAE should be sweet and distant for the Mumbai Indians as they were one of the quickest teams to find out their perfect combination. The results of it have been impeccable now as we move towards the halfway stage of the tournament. The upcoming game would be Mumbai’s biggest hurdles this season as they lock horns with the table-topper Delhi Capitals.

It will the 27th match of the Indian Premier League marking the exact mid-point of the IPL league stage. Delhi Capitals have been another team that have already made it big this season. All the departments are executing their task perfectly and the team has only gained momentum until now.

The battle for the top spot will be an interesting one as two of the most balanced IPL sides go head-on. The match will take place at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Will Rabada continue his excellence? Or will the Mumbai batsmen show him who’s the boss?

Head to Head

Matches played- 24, MI- 12, DC- 12

Team News

Mumbai Indians have always had the flexibility to shuffle their batting order considering the situation they are in. In most of the cases, some or the other player has stood up and taken the team through. That has been one of their strengths, while their bowling looks brand new with Trent Boult and James Pattinson only making it more difficult for the batsmen to free their arms.

Mumbai Indians are expected to go with the same XI that played their last game against RCB. Delhi were struck with a blow when it was declared that Amit Mishra will not be a part of their IPL journey ahead. However, Ravichandran Ashwin’s return has only made things better for the team.

With Ashwin’s capability to bat, things have only got better although this game is expected to be something that will test both sides.

Pitch and Conditions

The ground at Abu Dhabi is well-known for its gigantic side boundaries and batsmen will have a tough time scoring sixes. However, if planned well things can be executed with pinch-perfection as Virat Kohli did it the other night.

The batsmen will need some extra time to get set on the pitch and that will be the difference between the quality of batting in both the teams. Spinners will be tough to score against while the dew-factor will come into play in the second innings. It won’t affect much but it may spoil the day for a few batsmen.

The sky will be clear, humidity around 60% is expected while the temperature will be around the 30-degree mark.  

Probable Playing XI

Mumbai Indians (MI): Quinton de Kock (WK), Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, James Pattinson, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah.

Delhi Capitals (DC): Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmeyer, Kagiso Rabada, Ravichandran Ashwin, Anrich Nortje, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel.

Key Battles:

Rohit Sharma (MI) vs Kagiso Rabada (DC)

Rohit Sharma (MI) vs Kagiso Rabada (DC)

The Mumbai Indians skipper will be against the current purple cap holder, Kagiso Rabada. Rabada is currently cruising away with the purple cap, picking up 15 wickets so far in the tournament. Rohit Sharma has not been his personal best but he has still managed to pull his team out from pressure situations and he surely has the potential to do more damage.

Rabada is still not hammered in the tournament and it may finally not be his day as he takes on the ‘hitman’. Considering the pitch being slower than the other ones, Sharma may take time to open up and may struggle in the initial stages too. But a bowler like Rabada will surely use his pace to cause him problems.

Will Sharma hit the bouncers out of the park again? Or is it time to finally take some on the helmet?

Jasprit Bumrah (MI) vs Prithvi Shaw (DC)

Jasprit Bumrah (MI) vs Prithvi Shaw (DC)

Economy wise Bumrah is not having the best of tournaments. However, he has still managed to pick 11 wickets and is just four wickets behind the purple cap holder, Rabada. Bumrah though has the best bowling figures in the tournament so far (4 for 20) and this is something more like Bumrah.

He will be against Prithvi Shaw who himself had some bad days with the bat. His performances have a lot of improvement but Shaw will not deny that he needs to do more. Being against Bumrah will not be just a challenge but a huge test to show the world that he is now ready to take on any bowler in the world.

Prediction

The game does not have any clear favorites. However, the best part about the game is a pitch that has not been merciful to anyone and games have gone either side. Batting first will still be a preference but there is very little doubt if the teams will not prepare themselves for a chase too.

The tournament asks for consistency and Mumbai will try to match Delhi in terms of points to ensure that they take the top spot soon. Delhi Capitals will be hoping to increase the gap and ensure that nothing goes wrong for them in this season.

Both teams have shown some spectacular performances but the initial few games of this season also exposed both of the team’s weaknesses. The head-to-head record being equal will only add to the fun. It will be interesting to see which team succeeds as a thrilling game of IPL is anticipated.

Cricwizz predicts Delhi Capitals to win