Mumbai Indians will begin its Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign in its home city after almost three years, but the team management believes that there is no added advantage.
While its opening fixture against Delhi Capitals on Sunday afternoon will be at the Brabourne Stadium – which hasn’t hosted an IPL fixture since 2015 – Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma believes that with a ‘relatively new team’ – in which most cricketers have no experience of playing in Mumbai – there would be ‘no advantage’.
With the temperature expected to soar to about 34 degrees, it will be a challenge for both Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals to get accustomed to the conditions and all eyes will be on Rohit, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah – Mumbai’s ‘core team’, which has enough experience of playing in the hot and humid conditions of the city.
While the team management has decided to open the innings with Rohit and Ishan, Mumbai will be missing out on the services of Suryakumar Yadav for the first game. After undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy, Suryakumar entered the Mumbai team bubble on Saturday evening and would only be available for selection after undergoing the mandatory quarantine.
Sunday’s fixture will also be a test of character for the two captains – Rohit and Rishabh Pant. Having led Delhi last season, Pant now has enough experience and it would be interesting to see how the young wicketkeeper-batter handles his team this time around.
With David Warner yet to join the squad due to his international commitments, captain Pant is likely to open the innings for Delhi along with Prithvi Shaw, and coming into the tournament in red-hot form, Delhi’s fortunes will depend on how captain Pant fires with the willow. The team has enough depth in the batting department, with West Indies’ hard-hitting batter Rovman Powell, Sarfaraz Khan and Yash Dhull around.
As far as the bowling department is concerned, Mumbai will heavily rely on the seasoned Bumrah and Jaydev Undakat – one of the consistent performers in the domestic circuit – while Tymal Mills’ experience could come in handy.
Delhi, however, suffered a blow as Anrich Nortje will miss out on the initial few games due to a hip injury. So, the onus will be on the likes of Shardul Thakur and Chetan Sakariya. The team also has a spinner all-rounder in Axar Patel, who would be raring to go.
Despite claiming five titles, Mumbai Indians failed to make it to the play-offs in the last edition of the tournament, while a title has eluded Delhi so far. So, as yet another edition beckons, both teams will be hoping to start with a bang.