The Wankhede pitch in Mumbai has been one of the most refreshing things in the first week of the IPL this year. Seldom in IPL history has a pitch aided seam, swing, pace and carry in the right measure for two consecutive matches. The BCCI did send out a guideline which talked about having more grass cover on pitches, given all the venues will be hosting at least a half a dozen matches on the bounce.
Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings, both undone by seam and swing in their last games at Wankhede, will be looking to field XIs which will derive the most out of the conditions on Sunday night. Much of the planning for T20 games revolves around having a strong defensive attack. However, this time at the Wankhede an all-out attack with pace will be the key. For once, the Test-match length is back in play.
Capitals, perhaps, have been one of the two most potent pace bowling units in the IPL over the last two years. Even in their defeat against Rajasthan Royals the other night, their pacers had set it up to comfortably defend 147 until Chris Morris intervened with a freak innings.
Kagiso Rabada, Chris Woakes and Anrich Nortje form the cream of any fast-bowling attack. A rapidly evolving Avesh Khan adds further bite. Rabada and Nortje had given batsmen a real shake on the benign tracks in UAE in the last edition of the IPL.
In contrast, the Punjab bowling line-up is largely built for high-scoring games. Mohammad Shami is the only proven international pacer in the line-up. His burst of four overs against the top-heavy Capitals batting could be the determining factor on Sunday.
“We have got a great bowling line-up. It’s just about picking the right team on the right wicket and conditions. We definitely have a lot of options in our seam bowling, which is really nice to have and hopefully we can make the best of the conditions and the different players that we have got,” Anrich Nortje, fresh out of quarantine, said on the eve of the match.
“There’s no team that’s got a bad composition so every side is really competitive, and it can come off for anyone on any day,” he said.