WPL 2024: Mumbai Indians seeks to spoil Delhi Capitals’ homecoming as league moves to Delhi

The tournament’s second edition moves to the hunting ground of the Capitals, the Arun Jaitley Stadium, and will kick off with DC vs MI.

Published : Mar 04, 2024 22:28 IST , New Delhi - 4 MINS READ

Mumbai Indians enjoys a 5-1 advantage when it comes to H2H numbers against Delhi Capitals.
Mumbai Indians enjoys a 5-1 advantage when it comes to H2H numbers against Delhi Capitals. | Photo Credit: Sportzpics for WPL

Mumbai Indians enjoys a 5-1 advantage when it comes to H2H numbers against Delhi Capitals. | Photo Credit: Sportzpics for WPL

In the popular English sitcom, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Joey Tribbiani, a man who loves food, looks at the Thanksgiving turkey he is surprisingly struggling to finish and exclaims, “You are my Everest!”

One would imagine Delhi Capitals must feel the same way when it looks at Mumbai Indians, its biggest rival in the Women’s Premier League (WPL). The tournament’s second edition moves to the hunting ground of Capitals, the Arun Jaitley Stadium (formerly called the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium), and will kick off with the reverse fixture between these archrivals.

If there’s one thing MI will particularly enjoy, it will be to deny Capitals victory yet again, stretching their already skewed head-to-head to 5-1. 

DC’s resurgence

After a heartbreaking last-ball four-wicket loss to MI in the tournament opener a fortnight ago, Capitals turned their fortunes around with three comfortable wins on the trot.

READ: WPL 2024: Uma Chetry named replacement for UP Warriorz batter Vrinda Dinesh

Two of those wins saw the team successfully defend totals at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, a surface that favours teams batting second.

Capitals’ top-order has, like last year, proven to be the biggest strength of the team, with Meg Lanning, Shafali Verma, and Alice Capsey proving to be the backbone of the batting effort.

Three of the top five wicket-takers so far this season belong to Capitals (Radha Yadav with seven scalps, Jess Jonassen and Marizanne Kapp with six each). Kapp’s penchant for striking in the PowerPlay has allowed Delhi the luxury of crippling batting efforts early on. Jonassen, who, for reasons best known to the Australian management, found herself increasingly sidelined in the national team, made her way back to the DC playing XI after missing out in the first game. She has made hay when the sun shines, cementing her spot on the team sheet with her miserly spells and ability to break partnerships when the pressure builds.

Injury watch
Harmanpreet Kaur and Shabnim Ismail were spotted having a hit in the nets on arrival in Delhi. Official news on their niggles is awaited, but the side will want these two out on the field against a strong opponent like Capitals.

When Kapp sat out the last fixture against Gujarat Giants, Titas Sadhu finally got a look in, replacing the South African as the strike bowler with the new ball. That she opened her WPL account with a maiden, very Kapp-like, bowling into and away from the batters would have made Kapp smile from the sidelines. Jemimah Rodrigues’ patchy form and tendency to hastily play risky shots when pressure mounts is an area of concern, particularly against a potent opponent like MI, which is capable of taking the top-order out of the equation pretty quickly. 

MI eyes return to table top

A loss against UP Warriorz, where skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and pace spearhead Shabnim Ismail were absent from the ranks, has been a singular blip in a campaign where MI has looked largely unbothered by its opponents.

Ismail’s unreadable pace up front coupled with the intelligence of Amelia Kerr has helped MI silence its oppositions with the ball. While Hayley Matthews has been hot and cold so far, Yastika Bhatia’s form up top has been a big boost for the holder, alongside some clean hitting from Harmanpreet who is coming off a lean patch in international cricket. 

ALSO READ: Gujarat Giants’ Sayali Satghare becomes first-ever concussion substitute in WPL history

Going up against a team that has not been able to outsmart it three out of four times will cushion the task of climbing over the team to take its place atop the standings. 

It’s time to bid farewell (hopefully) to games decided by the flip of the coin. In the 10 games played so far, teams winning the toss have won seven times and all those wins have come chasing, to make best use of the small boundaries and onset of dew later in the evening.

There’s a chill in the air in New Delhi once the sun sets and dew might be a factor at the Kotla too. This is a venue traditionally known for its slow pitches, but the Men’s ODI World Cup saw some hefty totals on this surface, giving hope for a mixed bag of contests as the WPL romps towards the business end. 

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