The Delhi Capitals (DC) will face off against the Mumbai Indians (MI) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday. This will be DC's first game at the venue after playing their opening three games at the Wankhede Stadium.
Both teams are coming on the back of impressive wins. A powerful performance from Shikhar Dhawan saw DC chase down a target of 195 comfortably against the Punjab Kings (PBKS).
MI, on the other hand, continued their dominant bowling display by defending yet another modest total, this time against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. The track at Chennai has generally been on the slower side and teams that have played here have taken a while to get adjusted to it.
Thus, MI might be better accustomed to the surface here having already played three games. The DC batsmen will need to adapt to the conditions quickly if they are to give the defending champions a run for their money.
3 batsmen to watch out for in DC vs MI encounter
On a sluggish surface, runs on the board will be crucial and on that note, let's have a look at three batsmen who could go big in the DC vs MI encounter:
#3 Rishabh Pant
The last 3-4 months have seen a massive improvement in Rishabh Pant - the batsman. Although he always had the talent, it was the execution that was lacking. He was throwing away his wicket on too many occasions despite getting off to a good start.
But ever since his heroic performances in the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Pant has taken his batting to the next level. The maturity that he has shown in his shot selection, coupled with the temperament that he has on display under pressure, has made him a regular for Team India in all three formats.
Shreyas Iyer's shoulder injury meant that Pant was named the DC skipper for the IPL 2021 season. Although he has scored a half-century, Pant hasn't quite taken the tournament by storm. However, he has some good memories of playing in such conditions in the recent past.
In the Test series against England, Pant played some match-defining knocks on pitches that were turning square. This would certainly give him a lot of confidence to face the likes of Rahul Chahar, who has been in top form for MI.
If Pant gets going, he can get a humongous score and can single-handedly win the game for DC with his counter-attacking brand of cricket.
#2 Shikhar Dhawan
Every single time there have been questions raised about Shikhar Dhawan's form, the 35-year-old has found a way to answer his critics in style. Dhawan was clearly India's third-choice opener in T20Is behind Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. He was dropped in the T20I series against England after just one game.
However, the southpaw has come roaring back into form as he has scored 186 runs in the IPL 2021 season in just three games, holding the Orange Cap at the moment. There were special praises for his brilliant 92 against PBKS in the last game.
There was also a direct comparison between the knocks of Dhawan and Rahul in the same game. Many hailed the left-hander for anchoring the innings as well as ensuring that his strike-rate was brilliant, something Rahul was unable to achieve.
The Chennai track has been tough for batsmen, but those who have been successful are good players of spin. With Dhawan certainly having the ability to play the spinners well, he will be DC's biggest hope against MI.
Dhawan can shift gears within a space of just a few deliveries and can unsettle the opposition bowling. Thus, it will be crucial for the DC opener to play another big innings against the defending champions.
#1 Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav has arguably looked the most comfortable batting on the two-paced Chennai track among the MI batsmen. He is the current highest run-scorer for MI this season with 97 runs from three games.
The 30-year-old scored a sizzling half-century against the Kolkata Knight Riders where he looked almost unstoppable. In all three of his knocks, Suryakumar got off to quick starts and ensured that MI still had the momentum while he was at the crease.
As a batting unit though, MI haven't done well this season, with 159 being their highest score so far. The defending champions were one of the most prolific run-scorers in the league last season and this has been a bitter pill to swallow for them.
However, with two more games to play at this venue, MI will depend on Suryakumar Yadav to get a big score and help them post a highly competitive total. He has the ability to cash in on a DC bowling attack that hasn't done particularly well so far this season.
With swing unlikely to be on offer for the quicks and Suryakumar being a terrific player of spin, the 30-year-old could play a match-winning knock for MI.