After a heartbreaking loss against Railways in the last super league match, Delhi have got the much needed boost with the return of Virat Kohli and skipper Mithun Manhas for their must win encounter against defending champions Mumbai starting at the Roshanara ground here on Wednesday. Kohli was away on national duty while Manhas had a groin strain.
After seam bowlers dominated the Delhi-Railways game at Roshanara, the pitch this time had a fair bit of grass till Tuesday and again looked result oriented. Delhi, on 13 points, need an outright win to qualify for the knockout stage.
Delhi coach Manoj Prabhakar said that team's morale has been boosted with the return of senior players. "Since Virat and Mithun both are back in the side it is good for us as they are in good touch." Prabhakar said Delhi could go in with an all-seam bowling attack as spinner Vikas Mishra has complained of a stiff calf muscle. "Looking at the wicket, we can even go in with four medium pacers. Vikas has a stiff calf so if he does not play we have options in Mithun and Shikhar."
Kohli, who hit two hundreds in the 5-0 ODI series sweep against New Zealand, was happy with the wicket but worried about the plight Delhi finds itself in. "It's a good wicket. We could have avoided the situation we are in at the moment. I now think we should have declared the innings a little earlier against Gujarat and then should have had the bonus points against Assam."
Mumbai, with 21 points, are already through to the knockout but are not taking the match lightly. "Delhi is a good side and the rivalry between Delhi and Mumbai will always be there. Even though we are comfortably placed at the moment but we want to win this one and go on a high into the knockout stage," said Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer.
Ajit Agarkar is back after being rested in the last match against Tamil Nadu while Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni and spinner Romesh Powar have been rested.
Mumbai coach Praveen Amre said he expected a bowler-friendly pitch after looking at Delhi's position in the table. "I knew it would be a resulted oriented track against Delhi as they need a win to go ahead but it is a good thing for us too as I will be in a position to check some of my young players in a pressure game."
Mumbai is also expected to pick three seamers and Iqbal Abdulla should be the preferred spinner over Harpreet Singh considering his batting abilities.