In the first match of the IPL 2020 Playoffs, defending champions Mumbai Indians will take on Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 1 on Thursday (November 4)– the battle between the top two sides of the league stage.
We are finally done with the lengthy league stage of IPL 2020, those 56 matches producing some mesmerizing performances and nail-biting thrillers. But now, we have the battle of the big boys. It’s time for the all-important IPL Playoffs.
Like we have explained earlier, the teams playing the Qualifier 1 get two bites of the cherry, that is, they get two chances to qualify for the IPL Final. Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals will thus get two opportunities.
The winner of this Qualifier 1 goes straight to the IPL 2020 Final which is slated for Tuesday (November 10). While the losing side of this contest goes to the Qualifier 2 – where they await the winner of the Eliminator 1 (to be played between SRH and RCB).
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) November 3, 2020
This format lays emphasis on the importance of the league stage – the sides who finish in the top two spots, getting added advantage.
Mumbai Indians were the first side to qualify for the IPL 2020 Playoffs and have looked like the strongest contenders, right from the onset of the tournament. They would thus start as favorites against the Capitals and would ultimately be aiming for a record-extending fifth IPL crown.
Despite getting thrashed in their final league game by 10 wickets at the hands of SRH, it must be noted that Mumbai had rested three of their biggest players for this contest. Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Hardik Pandya were all given a much needed break before the frantic last leg of this edition begins.
Mumbai, will still draw positives from their last outing – they were handed a huge boost by the return of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, who has recovered in time from his hamstring injury.
Almost all of their players are in prime form – While Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan have taken care of their batting, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult have been in red-hot form with the ball, with both of them being in the hunt for the Purple Cap. If that was not enough, they have the strongest firepower in the ranks with the likes of Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya all looking in imperious form.
Delhi Capitals, on the other hand, have blown hot and cold this season – even though they finished at the second spot on the points table. They were at the summit of the points table for most of the tournament but then lost four consecutive games after some dismal performances with the bat.
While Shikhar Dhawan currently sits at the third spot in the Orange Cap race with 525 runs to his name, he has been left alone at the top order with Dhawan’s opening partner becoming loophole in the Capitals armory.
Opener Prithvi Shaw lost his form midway through the tournament and was dropped and then brought back into the playing XI but even that couldn’t change his dismal show with the bat. The poor opening starts have put extra pressure on Delhi’s middle order. Skipper Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant have thus been unable to play freely thus far as they are left to do the damage control.
The lack of opening stands has become Delhi’s Achilles heel and is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed, if they are to win this one. The bowling department is well taken care of by Purple Cap holder Kagiso Rabada (24 wickets from 14 games) and his fellow South African compatriot Anrich Nortje who have won several matches for Delhi on their own.