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Heavy weights clash at Wankhede

The two strongest teams in this year’s competition take on each other at Mumbai. Delhi Daredevils have been strengthened by the addition of Kevin Pieterson and Mahela Jayawardane and look a very strong outfit. Mumbai Indianshave a brilliant bowling side but without Sachin at the top of the order their batting relies heavily on Rohit Sharma to guide them which will be a huge set back against a good Delhi bowling attack. It will be interesting to see if Sachin will take the fieldtomorrow for Mumbai Indians as his presence for sure gives them lots of stability in the batting.

Wankhede stadium has always had good bounce for both spinners and pacers. It has always been a true wicket when good batsmen can play shots on the up and the bowlers will get some movement under lights. Both the teams have somegood pacers and they will get lots of pace and bounce from the wicket. The average score might be in the range of 150-160 and anything more than that will be a winning total.

Team News/composition

Will Sachin play? This is the question on everyone’s mind at the moment. Mumbai Indians batting has generally been inconsistent while he is not been there at the top of the order.Delhi Daredevils have had a good start to the season and have emerged as one of the strongest teams of IPL V. They have an explosive batting and bowling lineup and with Kevin Pieterson and Jayawardane in the middle order theyhave got the necessary experience in the middle order.
Both the teams have excellent bowling attacks and it will be M Morkel versus Malinga and whoever wins the battle between the spearheads might win the contest.

Both Delhi and Mumbai will want to go to the top of the pile with a win in Wankhede. The teams are very well matched in all departments with Delhi holding a slight advantage in the batting. The bowling units of both the teamsare extremely strong. Mumbai defeated Delhi in both the games last season and the wrecker in chief was that man Lasith Malinga. It will be interesting to see how the new batting lineup will handle the threat of the Sri Lankan. Mumbai Indians will also wantsome consistency in the batting as their reliance on Rohit Sharma to pull them out of the woods has been quite frequent this season. Ambati Rayudu and TL Suman (If Sachin does not play) will want to get going for the hosts.

Delhi Daredevils: NV Ojha, V Sehwag, KP Pieterson, DPMD Jayawardane, RE Van Der Merwe, Y Venugopal Rao, Y Nagar, IK Pathan, M Morkel, U Yadav, S Nadeem

Mumbai Indians: RE Levi, TL Suman/SR Tendulkar, RG Sharma, AT Rayudu, KA Pollard, KD Karthik, JEC Franklin, Harbajan Singh, SL Malinga, PP Ojha, MM Patel

Team Quotes:

“It’s fantastic, I’m sure any team in the IPL would love to have him in their team. It’s great for Mumbai Indians that he is with us. He is great in all four overs that he bowls up front or [at the] death. He is a vital elementin our side.”

Franklin stresses on the importance of Malinga to the Mumbai Indians side.

“He has been the backbone of our team’s bowling attack for the last three matches. He brings the team to a position from where it is easier for us to bowl.”

Nadeem speaks about the importance of Morkel to the Delhi side.

World Cup 2011 team preview – England and South Africa

I have decided to group England and South Africa together as both of them have lots in common. Both the teams are yet to win the tournament and would be keen to set the record straight. England who reached the World Cup finals on three occasions would want to go one step further this time if they get another chance and South Africa would want to be in the finals for the first time.

If we look at both the teams, they haven’t had a great year in the shorter format. England reach the world cup after a 6-1 loss against the Aussies and South Africa with a hard fought 3-2 win against the Indians. Both the teams have some exciting players in the X1 and have a good balanced bowling attack. South Africa comprises of a very strong batting line up led by Smith and Amla at the top. The middle order consists of Kallis, Devilliers, Ingram and Duminy followed by Mark Boucher. So a very strong batting line up capable of raking up huge scores on flat subcontinent wickets. The bowling too is extremely potent with Dale Steyn and Morkel leading the pace attack. The spin bowling also received a great boost with the inclusion of Imran Tahir (Leg Spinner) along with Johan Botha.

That lends an excellent balance to an attack which normally is pace heavy. So I would say on papers the proteas are one of the strongest contenders for the title. They bat deep and also have an attack which can be dangerous on these wickets. So overall I would say South Africa has come with the best combination to succeed on these wickets for the first time and they would like to make the most of it. England also has a similar team to the Proteas. Pieterson and Trott give them the solidity in the middle order along with Collingwood and Morgan (If he does play). Strauss is a calm head at the top and the captain would surely want to lead from the front. The English bowling has great balance with Anderson leading the pace attack and Swann leading the tweakers.

Swann being arguably the best spinner in the world at the moment will be a huge advantage for the English. He also has featured in a full series to the subcontinent in the past which should give him an advantage to bowl in these conditions. All in all both the teams have an excellent chance to make it to the semis but it all depends on their temperament. Both these teams have had chances in the past but have not been able to grab the same and have faltered at the crucial stages. So Smith and Strauss will be mindful of the fact and would want to make this world cup memorable for their respective teams.