Qualifier 1: Mumbai, Delhi battle it out in the shortest path to IPL Final

Loser will meet winner of Eliminator (SRH vs RCB) in Qualifier 2 on November 8
MI All-rounder Hardik Pandya
MI All-rounder Hardik PandyaTwitter: @mipaltan

After a roller coaster of an IPL season where teams where moving up and down in the points table, it took 56 games to decide who will join Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the playoffs. The last league game was played between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians. SRH beat Mumbai, which meant that KKR was out of contention for the playoffs and SRH became the fourth team in the playoffs.

Today, it is the Qualifier 1 between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals. The equation is simple, whichever team wins today, moves to the final. The loser gets a second chance in Qualifier 2 as they will take on the winner of the Eliminator between RCB and SRH. Winner of Qualifier 2 will go to the final and challenge the winner of today’s game.

Mumbai are coming into this game after a 10-wicket loss to SRH. Since Mumbai had qualified, they decided to try new players and rested their three key players – Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. MI will bring them back tonight as it is must win game. However, MI’s batting struggled to score in the last game despite the return of skipper Rohit Sharma. Sharma was looking rusty. Keiron Pollard’s 41 runs off 25 balls helped Mumbai reach 149-8 in 20 overs. But the rest of the batsmen struggled against a disciplined SRH bowling attack. MI’s bowling couldn’t even pick a single wicket which shows their over dependence on Boult and Bumrah to pick wickets.

On the other hand, Delhi won their previous game against RCB, which helped them secure the second spot on the points table. Delhi’s bowlers bowled well and seemed to have bounced back after 4 consecutive losses. But their biggest concern has been the form of Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer. Both have struggled to score runs. But their relief will be Ajinkya Rahane’s return to form at the right time scoring 60 runs of 46 balls and Shikhar Dhawan also scored a half century in a must win game. But their batting lineup will need more of a boost.

Playing in Dubai International Stadium, Mumbai have managed to score 170+ despite the sluggishness of the track. It will be real test for the batsmen. However, the dew has been on and off. So it will be interesting to see what the team winning the toss does.

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