With an aim to make it four, three-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians will kick-start 2019 campaign on Sunday, March 24, against the rejigged Delhi Capitals at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Head to Head Overall Stats: Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals have gone head-to-head in 22 IPL fixtures and have shared the honours by winning 11 games each.
Head to Head in Wankhede Stadium: The Wankhede has been no less than a fortress for the Mumbai, As they have lost just one out of nine games they played against Delhi, and that was way back in IPL 2012 by seven wickets.
Pitch Report: The Wankhede pitch is known for its slow turn and consistent bounce, which makes it ideal for batting.
The Mumbai Indians were victims of the slow start in the previous season, which was not new for the franchisee. But the team went on to lose six out of the opening eight fixtures, which cost them the playoff berth despite winning next four fixtures on the trot, and the team would love to avoid that in IPL 2019.
Meanwhile, the team has the tendency to clinch the title bi-annually. MI went on to clinch the silverware in 2013, 2015 & 2017 and this will certainly boost their confidence ahead of the game.
Key Players - Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock & Surya kumar Yadav.
Mumbai's latest entrant Quinton de Kock is expected to be team's masterstroke, with the kind of the form he possesses. The wicketkeeper-batsman is coming on the back of four consecutive 50+ scores (81, 94, 121 & 51) in the recently concluded ODI series against Sri Lanka and if he continues his good run in the IPL, he could pose a major headache in the opponents' bowling camp.
After an average show in the 2018 season, the MI skipper is likely to the opening slot for the upcoming games. Rohit Sharma scored 286 runs last season and will aim to come out with much better show this year.
Meanwhile, they will also have a lot of hopes on last seasons top scorers Suryakumar Yadav and Even Lewis, who hit 512 and 382 runs and also boasts a decent strike rate of 133.3 and 138.4 respectively.
Key Players - Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah & Mitchell Mcclenaghan
In this department, the team boasts a strong unit with the likes of Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan. Where Pandya rallied the wicket charts by picking 18 scalps in the previous season, Bumrah followed him by claiming 17 wickets and skipper will need these to come out with same enthusiasm and attain few scalps early.
While the inclusion of McClenaghan and Pollard adds an international favour to the bowling unit and these two will be expected to utilize their experience to trouble the opponents during slog overs.
Expected Playing XI
Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah, Mayank Markande, Quinton de Kock and Evin Lewis.
Delhi Daredevils finished at the bottom of the table last season after securing just three wins in the league stage. As a result the team underwent a major renovation not only in players, but also is set to feature under new name Delhi Capitals. The management will hope that the new name also brings the change in Delhi's fortunes.
Key Players - Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant & Shreyas Iyer.
Delhi secured the services of Shikhar Dhawan in the transfer window to strengthen their batting unit. Dhawan scored 497 runs in IPL 2018 and played a key role in SRH progress to the final. 'Gabbar' will now aim to make it better this season and will be expected to celebrate his homecoming with a big knock.
Rishabh Pant was season's Orange Cap holder at the end of the league stage last year with 684 runs, but his strike-rate of 173.60 is what makes him more daunting and he could be team's X-factor in the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, the team will also bank on the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Colin Ingram; while Shreyas was the second best batsman with 411 runs, Ingram is coming off an impressive show in PSL 2019, where he scored a century and the skipper will need these two to put pressure on the opponents bowlers with their blistering efforts.
Key Players - Trent Boult, Sandeep Lamichhane & Kagiso Rabada
Trent Boult was their best performer in 2018 with 18 wickets, being the leading wicket-taker last season, while Kagiso Rabada, who has been released from national duties, is set to join the team ahead of the clash and will share the powerplay duties with Boult.
Meanwhile, Sandeep Lamichhane did enough to showcase his abilities in the three games he played, since then the Nepal's boy is enjoying a supreme T20 run around the globe and he along with experienced Amit Mishra will continue to peg the batters during the middle overs.
Expected Playing XI
Shikhar Dhawan (C), Colin Ingram, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Kagiso Rabada and Prithvi Shaw.