After more than 20 matches of IPL, we finally see a difference between settled teams and unsettled ones. Initially (first ten matches), it was tough to separate the eight teams as each team had at least one win and one defeat to their name.
Slowly and steadily, as the tournament has progressed, we are getting a clearer picture of who are the strong contenders for the IPL title.
Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals are two of the teams that seem to have got all their bases covered pre-tournament in the auction table itself. They have all the resources required for a champion side.
This team has the reputation of being slow-starters in IPL, but this year it’s a different ball game as they have started briskly by winning four out of six matches.
Despite having match-winners like Rohit, Pollard, Hardik, and Bumrah, Mumbai Indians does not rely on individual brilliance.
If Rohit Sharma fails to score at the top with the bat, Suryakumar Yadav will pick up the slack, and even if he fails, there is young Ishan Kishan in the wings who will hit the ground running with quick runs.
Mumbai Indians has the strongest middle-order amongst all IPL teams. The combination of Kishan, Hardik, Pollard, and Krunal allows Mumbai to be flexible with their batting order depending on game situations.
Their pace-bowling department is equally good as they have the luxury of playing the two overseas fast-bowlers, Trent Boult and James Pattinson, along with Jasprit Bumrah.
Pundits and cricket legends often say that “batsmen win you matches whereas bowlers win you tournament.” Mumbai bowlers have taken wickets regularly with the new ball as well as in the slog overs. All three of their bowlers are in the top 5 positions as the leading wicket-takers of IPL 2020.
Pollard’s bowling in the middle overs is the icing on the cake for Mumbai Indians. He has become a much better bowler and has carried his form over from the CPL 2020. His bowling’s biggest plus is that he never gives pace on the ball and forces the batsmen to make mistakes by going hard at him.
Mumbai’s only weakness is that they don’t have the quality off-spinner required on these kinds of tracks. Rahul Chahar has been good with his leg-spin, but Krunal Pandya has gone for runs in the middle-overs. However, Pollard covers up with his economical overs.
Delhi Capitals is also another strong contender to win this IPL. They are in a strong position in the points table with four wins from 5 matches.
For a couple of years, Delhi has been a young team with a strong Indian core. Shreyas Iyer has led the team well for a couple of years.
The opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw has been consistent in giving the Capitals a good start. Prithvi has been the aggressor, whereas Shikhar has been the second fiddle.
Shikhar has scored regular 30’s but hasn’t converted them into good starts. Shreyas Iyer at number 3 has been good with an impactful score of 88 against KKR at Sharjah. Rishab Pant has chipped in and played some cameos here and there.
Marcus Stoinis has been the most impactful player with two crucial fifties in 5 matches. Shimron Hetmyer has had very little opportunity to score runs as he has to bat down to accommodate Pant and Iyer.
The bowling department of Delhi Capitals has been the best among all IPL teams. The fact is the Capitals has a strong Indian batting core like Mumbai. They also have the luxury of playing two overseas fast bowlers from South Africa – Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje.
Kagiso Rabada is the leading wicket-taker so far in the tournament with 12 wickets.
Off-spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel have bowled exceptionally well in the middle overs. They have restricted the batsmen from even rotating the strike in the middle overs.
The team’s only weakness is that except Shikhar Dhawan, all other batsmen bat in the same gear, that is, strikes the ball hard and go for quick runs.
There may come a match when the batting order might see a drastic collapse, but Capitals will have to be very careful and prepared for that particularly bad day.
Overall, these two teams are almost certain to qualify for the playoffs unless something drastic happens (4 or 5 defeats in a row). Mumbai Indians is a team that has the experience of winning four titles, whereas Delhi Capitals must now cross the big hurdle to play the final and win it.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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