It will be a battle for survival for Delhi Daredevils when they take on rampaging Mumbai Indians because a defeat will virtually end the hosts' campaign in the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.
Although Delhi have won their last two matches against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Lions in style, Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians are unlike those teams.
Mumbai, with 16 points from 10 matches, have already assured themselves a berth in the season's playoff and any adverse result against Delhi Daredevils will not have any serious negative impact on their campaign. The hosts do not enjoy that luxury as they have exactly 50 per cent less points than their rivals despite having played an equal number of games.
Interestingly, before Delhi played Mumbai in the 25th match of the IPL at Mumbai on 22 April, they had four points from five matches and now they have eight points from ten matches.
The hosts will aim for their third win in a row but the question is will Mumbai let them do that. Against Hyderabad and Gujarat bowling, Delhi batsmen made merry but Rohit Sharma's side has a potent bowling department.
In the first leg encounter, Delhi bowlers managed to restrict Mumbai to 142 for eight but could not overtake that total and lost the match by 14-runs. Now Delhi have a chance to take the revenge, which will also enable them to keep their hopes alive.
Against Gujarat, Delhi spearheaded by Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson pulverised the fragile bowling attack to make light of the 209-run target. Rishabh live up to the expectations scoring 43-ball 97 helping Daredevils pull off the second highest chase in the IPL history.
Such was the quality of his innings that Sachin Tendulkar called it one of the best knocks he has seen across 10 editions of the tournament. But to expect Rishabh to repeat such performance against a very strong bowling line-up including spinner Harbhajan Singh, Pacer Mitchell McClenaghan, Jaspreet Bumrah and Krunal Pandya will be asking for too much.
Though the hosts chased big targets of 186 and 209 in the last two outings at Kotla, tomorrow it is going to be another fight to stay alive as Harbhajan and Krunal have been tidy and have consistently managed to tie batsmen down and breaking their shackles will be a big test for the young batsmen before the home crowd.
Daredevils know they still have a tough task as they need to win all their remaining matches to seal a top four spot.It is not clear whether captain Zaheer Khan, who is down with a hamstring injury will play tomorrow or Karun Nair will lead the side for the fourth match in a row. The hosts have been making changes in their squad for every match and which has not yielded positive results most of the time. In the last match, in-form all-rounder Chris Morris was benched which surprised many.
On the other hand, Mumbai Indians are on roll. Their batsmen have clicked at crucial moments and bowlers have been steady.It is the team which has got all their bases covered.
Pandya brothers and Nitish Rana have been consistent while Kieron Pollard rose to the occasion against RCB when Mumbai was down 7 for 4. Parthiv Patel against Gujarat Lions and Jos Buttler against Punjab ensured their team emerged a winner.