Source - sify.com
Mumbai Indians face a stern test as they strive to keep their Indian Premier League (IPL) hopes alive when they clash with in-form Delhi Daredevils at the newly-built DY Patil stadium on Sunday.
Daredevils are on a roll after snapping the four-match winning sequence of Chennai Super Kings and moving to the top of IPL standings Friday.
Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, have been the whipping boys of the tournament, and they languish near the bottom of the points table in the eight-team league after losing four of their five matches.
After losing four matches in a row, Mumbai Indians managed to open their IPL account beating Kolkata Knight Riders in their last match.
Daredevils have emerged as the best bowling attack in the tournament and Mumbai Indians batsmen will have to put their best foot forward to stop the likes of veteran Glenn McGrath and Mohammad Asif.
McGrath particularly has been at his best.
Apart from restricting scoring, he has also got crucial breakthroughs in every match.
Delhi have also been served well by young Yo Mahesh and skipper Virender Sehwag himself has bowled well whenever he has taken the ball.
Daredevils batting is also in good shape with Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir leading the way. They are certainly the best opening combination and with Shikhar Dhawan at No. 3, Daredevils have had a great start in most of their matches.
Two of their wins have been by nine wickets and once by eight wickets against Chennai.
Against Chennai, Sehwag gave his new man, Abraham De Villiers, a chance and he responded with a neat 26 not out as Daredevils won by eight wickets.
Gambhir has been in outstanding form with three fifties in five matches and holds the 'Orange Cap' for being the current top scorer of the tournament with 224 runs.
Sehwag is second only to Gambhir and his total of 207 has two fifties, including the match-winning knock against Chennai which earned him his second Man of the match award. His first Man of the match award was for the 94 not out against Deccan Chargers.
Mumbai Indians, however, can take some positives from the fact that they were able to put the Harbhajan Singh incident behind them while registering their first win over Kolkata.
Harbhajan is currently serving a ban because of which he will no longer be seen in action in this IPL season. He was handed the ban following the post-match incident where he slapped Kings XI Punjab pacer S Sreesanth.
Mumbai Indians desperately need the services of skipper Sachin Tendulkar. It is still not certain whether he will play Sunday's match against Daredevils.
Tendulkar has missed the tournament so far because of a groin injury and the team badly needs him back in action before it is too late in the tournament.
Mumbai's top batsmen have failed to fire and they would require solid contributions from star players like Sanath Jayasuriya, Robin Uthappa and Shaun Pollock, who led the team in the previous match in absence of vice-captain Harbhajan.
Mumbai have lost a few close matches in the tournament and a win could do their sagging morale a lot good. Youngsters like Abhishek Nayar have stood out, but without any significant wins, their performances have tended to get lost.
Right now all Mumbai want is Sachin back and a win to boot.