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IPL 9: All eyes on De Kock as in-form DD face giants from Mumbai

New Delhi: On a roll after a poor start, Delhi Daredevils would look to complete a hattrick of victories with yet another impressive performance on home turf when they take on defending champions Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League encounter, here tomorrow.

Delhi Daredevils' batsman Quinton De Kock raises his bat after scoring 100 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Pic/ AFP
Delhi Daredevils' batsman Quinton De Kock raises his bat after scoring 100 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Pic/ AFP

After the loss to Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets in their tournament opener, the Daredevils bounced back strongly riding on the batting display to comfortably beat Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore in their next two games.

The Daredevils are presently third in the league standings with four points from three games, while the Mumbai Indians are placed fifth with two wins and three losses from five matches.

Mumbai Indians so far has had a mixed bag having won two games against Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore while losing three matches in a lousy fashion. The Rohit Sharma-led side suffered defeats against Rising Pune Supergiants, Gujarat Lions ad Sunrisers Hyderabad.

After a flop show in their opening match, Daredevils batting came to party in the last game against RCB. In the first match against Kolkata Knight Riders, Daredevils were shot out for 98 and then went untested in the second game against Kings XI Punjab as the target was a meagre
112.

But in the last game RCB, the 9th season of IPL witnessed its maiden century when South Africa opener Quinton de Kock blazed his way to 108 off just 51 deliveries to guide Rahul Dravid's men to a seven-wicket win over RCB while chasing an imposing 192-run target.

Besides, De Kock, young Karun Nair also played a pivotal role with an unbeaten 54 off 42 balls and come tomorrow the duo would hope to carry on their good form against the Mumbai Indians.

But what would worry Daredevils coach Dravid most is that besides De Kock and Nair, the team's batting line-up is relatively untested. Delhi's fortune will also depend on the performances of JP Duminy and big buys like Pawan Negi and Carlos Brathwaite, who are capable enough to win matches for their team.

Brathwaite became the toast of the cricketing world after hitting England's Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes to win the ICC World T20 final for the West Indies, would like to make a big impact in the tournament.

On the bowling front, Daredevils has experience with captain Zaheer Khan leading the pack and showing that there is still plenty left in his armoury. While Chris Morris has been economical upfront, Mohammad Shami leaked a few runs despite picking up two wickets in his comeback IPL game after a long lay-off.

Currently India's best leg-spinner Amit Mishra has time and again risen upto the occasion and will be leading Daredevils spin department in company of Pawan Negi.

Misfiring Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, intially struggled to get their team combination right but they did come good with a convincing chase of 170 plus score against Virat Kohli's RCB.

Two-time title winners, MI have slumped to defeats in both their home matches this season -- to IPL debutants Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions -- but they would be taking heart from the fact that their away campaign has so far been impressive.

Mumbai's top-order batting has been miserable so far barring captain Rohit Sharma, who was instrumental in both their wins scoring superb half-centuries.

But in the other three games, the leading batsmen have failed to click as a unit. Martin Guptill, who replaced injured Lendl Simmons, failed to live upto the expectations in his first game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, prompting Mumbai team management to drop him against RCB in the last match.

Guptill was dropped against RCB and a fit-again Kieron Pollard made an immediate impact with a match-winning 19-ball-39 not out. Englishman Jos Buttler and India discard Ambati Rayudu are getting starts but it is big-hitting Pollard, who can make a difference. While Hardik Pandya has been off-colour, his brother Krunal Pandya grabbed his opportunities with both hands by making an impact with both bat and ball.

In the absence of their ever-reliable Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga, Mumbai Indians have depended upon the New Zealand duo of Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan to make early inroads and this combination is expected to continue against RCB.

Teams (From): Delhi Daredevils: Zaheer Khan (C), Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun
Nair, Pawan Negi, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Pawan Suyal, Jayant Yadav, Chris Morris, Sam Billings, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Imran Tahir, Mahipal Lomor, Chama Milind, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed, Akhil Herwadkar, Pratyush Singh.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Mitchell McClenaghan, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Tim Southee, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, R Vinay Kumar, Corey Anderson, Unmukht Chand, Marchant de Lange, Siddhesh Lad, Kishore Kamath, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia, Nitish Rana, Jitesh Sharma, Nathu Singh, Akshay Wakhare, Martin Guptill.

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