Four teams remain in the battle to win the 2020 Indian Premier League as the competition reaches the playoff stage.
The Mumbai Indians have been ruthless in the competition to date and secured the top spot in the standings to earn two shots at a berth in the IPL final.
Delhi Capitals will stand in their way initially, having overcome their late issues to defeat Royal Challengers Bangalore and earn second place.
Bangalore will have to pit their wits against the form side still left in the tournament, Sunrisers Hyderabad.
David Warner’s side have won three in a row and look dangerous enough to win it all.
Check out our previews of the opening post-season matches below.
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The Indians have been relentless in the tournament, despite making a slow start and losing to Sunrisers in the regular season finale. The Chennai Super Kings beat them in their opening match, and they lost their third in a Super Over to RCB.
However, Mumbai found their stride, displaying a clinical edge in close matches to secure key victories. Batting contributions have come throughout the team in the absence of captain Rohit Sharma, who was side-lined with a hamstring injury.
Quinton de Kock has been outstanding at the top of the order, leading the way with 418 runs. Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan have provided excellent backing, displaying consistency at the crease. Sharma returned against Sunrisers but was off the boil. The Indians need him at his best for the playoffs.
The Mumbai bowlers have been sensational and the core reason for the team’s success. Losing their match-winner from the IPL 2019 final, Lasith Malinga, was an enormous blow, but others have come forward to fill the void.
Jasprit Bumrah has been a contender for the Purple Cap and is currently second in that list to Kagiso Rabada. Trent Boult is not far behind. Rahul Chahar has provided a spinning option, coming to the fore for his team at the tender of age of 21. Opposition teams will look to put him under pressure in the post-season.
Mumbai are perfectly placed for another shot at the crown and they’ve dominated the Capitals in their matches this term, including their last meeting.
Delhi got themselves out of a downward spiral just at the right time. The Capitals were on course to top the IPL standings, but lost four matches on the spin at a crucial part of the season.
Shreyas Iyer’s men dug out a win over RCB last time out courtesy of a half-century from Ajinkya Rahane and three wickets from Anrich Nortje. However, they will have to improve against the Indians to reach the final at the first attempt.
Rabada holds the key for the Capitals. He has led the way with the ball from the off and has been flawless. Nortje has provided the support, but Delhi will need more from their rest of the attack.
Ravichandran Ashwin has been too quiet. His captain, Iyer, will require a special effort from the off-spinner. All-rounders Axar Patel and Marcus Stoinis must also be on point to overcome the defending champions.
Shikhar Dhawan has led the batters confidently and became the first player to score back-to-back IPL centuries in matches this season. Iyer has also been impressive, but outside of these two senior players, the form of the rest of the unit has been shaky.
It will take a complete effort for the Capitals to see off Mumbai, and they’ve not enjoyed their recent games against the Indians. Mumbai crushed Iyer’s men last time out, slumping to a nine-wicket defeat at the end of October.
The two sides played a closer contest earlier in the season as the Indians edged out a win with two balls to spare and Mumbai will be the more confident team going into the match.
It should be an interesting contest, but our cricket tip of the week is to back Mumbai to emerge with a win due to their experience.
Mumbai Indians To Beat Delhi Capitals – 1.66 bet365
RCB missed out on second place after suffering a defeat at the hands of Delhi. Virat Kohli’s men have struggled down the stretch run by losing their last four matches in a row. Bangalore are not entering the playoffs with momentum and look vulnerable.
Devdutt Padikkal scored a half-century to end the regular season, and he led RCB in runs scored across the season. It was a welcome sight for the team to have a player ease the burden on Kohli and AB de Villiers. However, it must continue in this crucial game to keep their hopes alive.
Kohli and De Villiers are the star players that RCB need in the post-season. They’re arguably the best players in the format in the world, and to lift their team out of a slump, the duo have to perform.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been excellent with ball in hand. The leg-spinner claimed 20 wickets in his 14 games with an average of 19.05. Chris Morris has been solid in support, while Mohammed Siraj has also had his moments. RCB have the bowling talent that can carry them into the second eliminator.
Sunrisers Hyderabad appear to be peaking at the right time, winning three-straight games to surge into the post-season, including a victory over the defending champions in their last match. Trevor Bayliss is a very dangerous coach in limited-overs formats and he is proving so once again.
Jason Holder needed to display his skills with the bat to see them over the line in their last meeting against RCB. The two sides played out a thriller and we should see another close contest here.
Wriddhiman Saha’s promotion to the top of the order in place of Jonny Bairstow has brought the best out of Saha and skipper David Warner. The two have formed a strong partnership, with Saha performing brilliantly in their wins over Delhi, RCB and the Indians.
Kane Williamson shores up the middle order, while Holder provides a punch late on. There’s talent there for Hyderabad to make an impact. Rashid Khan has also been outstanding, boasting an economy rate of 5.07 with the ball. Bowling support comes from Thangarasu Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma and Holder.
There’s enough there for Sunrisers to overcome RCB. Warner and company beat them last time out and can do it again. We think they will claim the victory and make it to the next round of the playoffs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad To Beat Royal Challengers Bangalore – 1.80 bet365