Sharjah, (Asian independent) Reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI) and a confident SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) will look to maintain their winning form when they clash in an IPL match at the Sharjah Cricket stadium here on Sunday.
Both teams have four points from four games, but the Rohit Sharma-led MI are atop the table, courtesy a better net run rate.
Both teams are coming after winning their previous games. While MI hammered Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), SRH came out victorious in the southern derby against three-times champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Friday night.
While MI don’t seem to have any worries either on their bowling or batting fronts, SRH received a major blow on Friday as their lead pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar sustained an injury against CSK and his availability remains in doubt.
MI’s captain-cum opener Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, and Keiron Pollard are in good nick with the willow, but South African Quinton de Kock has managed a mere 48 runs from four outings.
The MI bowlers have been slowly getting into the groove as they comfortably defended a 191/4 against KXIP on Thursday. They just need to keep the same rhythm against SRH as the contest will be played on a ground with much smaller boundaries than the two other venues.
SRH, on the other hand, have some top quality batters like skipper David Warner, Kane Williamson, and Jonny Bairstow in their top order. They faltered against CSK, but it was their young guns — Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma — who grabbed the opportunity with both the hands and captivated everyone with their sensible rescue act.
The ‘Orange Army’ also lack a power hitter in their middle order which was quite visible against CSK. However, if the experienced top order gets going, it would give enough freedom to their youngsters to go for big hits.
And if pacer Bhuvneshwar misses the game, the onus will be on leg-spinner Rashid Khan, yorker specialist T Natarajan, and left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed to try and fill the gap. The team management could also be forced to include anyone from either Basil Thampi, Sandeep Sharma, or Siddharth Kaul to complete their bowling attack.
Both teams have 14 games so far in IPL history, and each one has won seven each. But looking at MI’s present firepower and the conditions here, the four-time champions seem to hold an edge over the 2016 winners.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Digvijay Deshmukh, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, James Pattison, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Prince Balwant Rai, Quinton de Kock, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Shreevats Goswami, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha, Abdul Samad, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, B Sandeep, Sanjay Yadav, Fabian Allen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Siddharth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi