One win separates Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, with both having played four games each. Hyderabad are one win better off while Mumbai Indians, the last edition’s champions, haven’t tasted success yet.
Both teams face each other to end the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League and the misfiring Mumbai Indians are bound to have a lot of expectations as they will be up against a side who have struglled to put up an impressive show and lacked consistency. Mumbai can exploit this to open their account before flying home.
Rohit Sharma — the skipper under whom Mumbai have won their only IPL — impressed with his leadership skills on the field and showed that he could handle nerves at crucial junctures while also producing a captains innings when the situation demanded. Last year, he had scored 538 runs in 19 matches including four half centuries. The India opener has begun IPL 7 on a low with only a fifty to his name — not a good sign for Sharma or the team.
He has been hugely successful for India as an opener mainly due to his ability to negotiate the bounce and pace of the seamers. It won’t be a bad idea if he shuffles himself up the order against Hyderabad. He might give MI a headstart — the little risk is definitely worth the shot.
Kieron Pollard is one name that didn’t come to mind during the auction — he was one of the players which are retained by the franchise. While he was instrumental in helping Mumbai with his fireworks down the order (420 runs in 18 games), he hasn’t succeeded in carrying forward his form into this edition. None of the MI batsmen have crossed the 100-run mark as yet, and Pollard, apart from his 33 not out against Chennai, hasn’t reached double figures. A quickfire knock from him could help MI put up a competitive total. As for Hyderabad, Finch and Warner have given them starts but Dhawan and Co. have struggled to capitalise.
Lone ranger Malinga
The Sri Lankan seamer shares fourth spot with Sandeep Sharma having scalped seven wickets so far. Malinga has been the only MI bowler who has consistently picked up wickets. No other bowler, be it be Zaheer Khan (3 wickets) or Harbhajan Singh (2 wickets) has offered support.
This has hurt Mumbai as they haven’t been able to break partnerships during the middle overs. Hyderabad face a similar problem when their spinners Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma operate, and struggle to provide breakthroughs. On Wednesday, it will be interesting to see who breaks through in Dubai.