If you look at the way things in IPL 8 have panned out so far, Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab have been among the big disappointments. Two of them, Delhi and Mumbai, will battle it out at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium on Thursday. Delhi who had recorded back to back wins, ended their short streak with the loss against KKR. Their inability to win in home conditions has been baffling. Mumbai, on the other hand, ended their losing streak with a win against Royal Challengers Bangalore in a high-scoring encounter. That would please them for sure, but they have a long way to go before getting back on track.
For Delhi to get back among the winning ways, both their batsmen and their bowlers will have to fire, which wasn't the case against Kolkata, a game they lost without any fight. For now, Delhi seem to be heavily dependent on their skipper JP Duminy, which must change. Mayank Agarwal has played one match-winning knock, but he hasn't been consistent enough. Shreyas Iyer too has blown hot and cold. More significantly, Yuvraj Singh is yet to set the tournament on first. Delhi would be eagerly awaiting for him to get into his groove. Runs from the talented Manoj Tiwary would only help.
Delhi's bowling will also need to improve drastically. Nathan Coulter-Nile began impressively, but has petered away since. Imran Tahir remains their key weapon, and the danger man for the opposition. Amit Mishra has bowled reasonably well, but only in phases. Angelo Mathews too hasn't made much of an impression with his medium pace. Clearly, they need to do a lot of hard work.
Looking at Mumbai, they would be pleased to have finally gotten a win under their belt following the excellent batting display against Bangalore, in which their star players finally lived up to their reputation. Having Lendl Simmons at the top definitely worked as he slammed a nice half-century. The form of Unmukt Chand will also please the team as he also got a fifty. Above all, Rohit Sharma returned to run-getting with a spectacular innings, which is something Mumbai were desperate for. With Kieron Polls and Corey Anderson already among the runs, their batting now looks more spectacular.
It's in the bowling department that Mumbai need to do some work. Harbhajan Singh has been their best bowler by some distance. But, while Lasith Malinga was potent in the last match, he hasn't shone for them in the earlier games. It was only a high score that they had to defend, which allowed Mumbai to get away with a poor bowling effort. It won't happen everytime though.
--By A Cricket Analyst