MI vs DC, WPL 2023: Undefeated Mumbai, Delhi tussle for league-stage supremacy

The clash between the undefeated Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians will also witness a tussle between two fierce rivals in Meg Lanning and Harmanpreet Kaur.

Published : Mar 08, 2023 22:55 IST , Navi Mumbai

Meg Lanning’s Delhi Capitals faces Harmanpreet Kaur’s Mumbai Indians on Thursday.
Meg Lanning’s Delhi Capitals faces Harmanpreet Kaur’s Mumbai Indians on Thursday. | Photo Credit: SPORTZPICS

Meg Lanning’s Delhi Capitals faces Harmanpreet Kaur’s Mumbai Indians on Thursday. | Photo Credit: SPORTZPICS

Is it too soon to call this the virtual final?

As Mumbai Indians takes on Delhi Capitals at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Thursday, one wonders if the title race in the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League will eventually come down to these two sides.

It is the ultimate gladiator clash - one between two of the most potent batting lineups (DC and MI are two of the three sides to manage 200+ scores in the WPL so far, with DC managing to do so twice); one between two of the most experienced captains and fierce rivals in international cricket - Meg Lanning and Harmanpreet Kaur.

Both teams have an unbeaten record in the league so far. Mumbai Indians have bulldozed Gujarat Giants (by 143 runs) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (by nine wickets), with its net run rate in the pink of health - +5.185. Delhi is not too far behind, tied on the same points and number of wins but a slightly less imposing net run rate of +2.550.

In this clash of almost equals, one waits to see if a marauding Delhi top order, including wrecker-in-chief Lanning -- who currently holds the orange cap with 142 runs in two games at an average of 71.00-- will finally have the challenge to break a sweat over. Her wagon wheel has had her leave no inch of the ground untouched, but a balanced Mumbai attack might just do the trick to restrict her to a sub-fifty score.

Delhi has no dearth of batting talent, with Jess Jonassen’s exciting 20-ball 40 adding to the options they have with the bat. Jonassen is also slowly finding her rhythm with the ball, taking three wickets in the game against UP Warriorz. Tara Norris couldn’t replicate her heroics from the first game, where she took a fifer, with Lanning giving her only two overs as a result against Warriorz. 

Shikha Pandey and Alice Capsey have been fairly economical, even if not among the wickets as much and will hope to be a little more imposing come Thursday.  

In Mumbai, the WPL has one of its most balanced bowling attacks. Its bowlers have managed to take 20/20 wickets in the two games so far, the only side to do so in this edition. The batters have been the icing on the cake, with an unburdened Hayler Matthews  (who has no strains of captaincy or essaying the lone wolf act in the team’s batting effort) being the party pooper for the opposition. Nat Sciver-Brunt has also settled into her all-rounder role with ease.

Skipper Kaur’s form with the bat and Amelia Kerr, who despite registering some clinical performances has flown under the radar, will also be trump card for MI.

Delhi’s strengths evidently lie in its batting. Marizanne Kapp (39* and 16) might see her needing to put in longer shift with the bat, as will Jemimah. The openers, Lanning in particular, have given Delhi comfortable starts so far and that will be the first aspect Mumbai will come in seeking to cross out. 

With bragging rights and a massive confidence boost on offer for the winner, Delhi might consider tinkering its line-up for the first time this season. Perhaps giving Titas Sadhu a go in place of a highly unused Arundathi Reddy might be the freshness Delhi’s bowling arsenal could use.   

How Delhi’s middle order survives Mumbai’s bowlers will make for a dramatic watch. It remains to be seen if Lanning’s strategic strengths can take the side to the top of the table.

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