Rohit Sharma Captain of Mumbai Indians plays a shot during the IPL match I ANI
Sharjah: Having finally secured their first two points of the UAE leg, five-time champions Mumbai Indians will take on Delhi Capitals at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium later on Saturday, coming into the game having more-or-less contrasting journeys.
A win in this game for Delhi Capitals will ensure they qualify for the playoffs and join CSK in the list. A loss means they still have two more games, out of which they must win at least one. For the Mumbai Indians, a win would mean a step closer to the playoffs, while a loss would mean the defending champions do not have too many chances to make the cut.
Mumbai Indians had lost their first three games of the UAE leg, putting them on the backfoot, tied with four other teams at eight points. However, a convincing win against Punjab Kings in their most recent game has brought the team the much-needed momentum ahead of crucial games that would decide the team's entry into the playoffs.
MI won by six wickets against Punjab Kings as they chased 137 runs in 19 overs with help from Saurabh Tiwary (45), Hardik Pandya (40 not out) and 'Player of the Match' Kieron Pollard (2/8 and 15 not out).
MI's middle order finally found form after a period of not being able to fire to the full potential. Hardik Pandya's unbeaten 40 (30 balls) will be a relief to the team, and so will Pollard's unbeaten 15 (7), both of whom took up the finishing duties for the team.
Saurabh Tiwary's knock of 45 (37) gave MI the additional cushion to be explosive during the last few overs of the innings. The team will look to continue that form for the rest of the tournament.
The Delhi Capitals were riding high after back-to-back wins against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals in their UAE leg. However, Kolkata Knight Riders beat DC by three wickets, breaking the team's momentum.
Last year the two teams met four times, twice in the league stages, once in Qualifier 1 and once in the IPL 2020 final. All four times, Mumbai emerged victorious. DC will be wary of their recent loss and their history against MI in the UAE before this game at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The teams have met each other 29 times in the IPL. The Mumbai Indians have a slight edge over the Delhi-based side, having won 16 games to Delhi's 13. DC will want to bridge that gap, but a win in this game is much more important for MI than it is for their opponent.