Focus on Kotla pitch as in-form DC play MI

It will be a battle of equals when Delhi Capitals host Mumbai Indians in their Indian Premier League encounter at the Feroze Shah Kotla stadium on Thursday. Both teams are coming into the game having registered convincing wins in their previous encounters and are also seated at 10 points each on the table.

While Delhi Capitals have been on a roll in recent times and won their last three games -- against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad -- Mumbai have been inconsistent as is the case with them in the first half of the season. In their last three games, MI won against Kings XI Punjab, lost to Rajasthan Royals and won again in their last game against RCB.

But come Thursday, it will be a different ball game as both teams will need to adapt well to the low and slow wicket at the Kotla. While Mumbai batsmen are used to playing on wickets where the ball comes on well to the bat, Delhi also boasts of primarily stroke makers like Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. Adaptation will be the key for sure.

It will also be interesting to see how Pant approaches the game after the exclusion from the World Cup squad on Monday. He was expected to board the flight to England before the selectors decided to back the experience of KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik. While he still has age on his side, it isn't easy to cope with such setbacks. How Pant decides to answer the selectors' call will also play a role in deciding what the future holds for the star.

Delhi are otherwise starting to look like a team which is excelling at the right time and it would not come as a surprise if the three wins on the trot gives them the confidence to get the better of a Mumbai side which is also looking equally dangerous.

While they have quality bowlers in Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga and spinner Krunal Pandya, the batting has also looked good with skipper Rohit Sharma showing sparks of his talent, Quinton de Kock rising to the challenges at the top and Hardik Pandya looking to finish well as he gears up for the role of finisher for India in the showpiece event.

It will also be interesting to see the kind of wicket the curator is able to produce after the DC management made its position clear after losing to SRH in their last home game. It has been a while and the curator definitely had time to rework on the square. But clearly, speeding up the wicket will not be on the cards as that will need grass.

Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Colin Ingram, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma, Colin Munro, Sandeep Lamichhane, Avesh Khan, Amit Mishra, Hanuma Vihari, Ankush Bains, Harshal Patel, Jalaj Saxena, Manjot Kalra, Sherfane Rutherford, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayyappa

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rasikh Salam, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishan Kishan, Evin Lewis, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Rahul Chahar, Mayank Markande, Barinder Sran, Jayant Yadav, Anukul Roy, Siddhesh Lad, Pankaj Jaiswal

- By Baidurjo Bhose for IANS