For too long in the IPL,the Mumbai Indians have been the embodiment of the big boast,small roast syndrome a team full of stars without the results to show for it. But a change at the helm and a few sensible selection calls have helped them chalk out a recovery of sorts this season,and they are in the middle of a run of three wins on the trot going into Wednesdays clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The hosts,on the other hand,have just received a reality check after an unexpectedly impressive start to their maiden IPL campaign,with back-to-back losses on the road against Chennai and Rajasthan.
But like most other teams in the tournament so far,they have been indomitable at home,winning all three games played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium so far. But stopping Mumbai could be Hyderabads toughest task this season.
ROHIT ON SONG
It was here in Hyderabad,wearing the colours of the citys previous franchise Deccan Chargers,that Rohit Sharma first made a name for himself in the IPL,turning himself from an elegant artist to a calculated demolisher of attacks. And it was here in Hyderabad that Rohits talent,something that he seems to have in abundance,came to the fore.
The most pleasing aspect of his days with the Chargers was his free-spirited approach to batting. Rohit has somehow found it difficult to replicate that gung-ho attitude while representing his home franchise.
Ironically,the responsibility of captaincy has in a way freed him up,and apart from winning three out of three matches as Mumbai skipper,hes also hit a purple patch with the bat. In addition,Rohit sits behind only Chris Gayle when it comes to the most sixes hit in IPL history,with 105.
The batsmen have let down Hyderabad this season. Lets allow the numbers to speak for themselves. Thisara Perara with 144 runs is their highest run-getter; Mumbai already have two batsmen with more than 300 runs. Pereras tally puts him at 27 th on the overall list; Mumbai have five batsmen with more runs than the Sri Lankan.
In their last match,Hyderabad had been reduced to 29/6 by Rajasthan before Darren Sammy rescued them from humiliation. And against a strong batting side like Mumbai,the batsmen will have to shake off the rut and not thrust all the responsibility on the shoulders of Dale Steyn,Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra.
BATTLE OF THE WEST
APART from being West Indian,theres a lot in common between Sammy,Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith. All three are useful medium-pacers apart from being terrifying hitters of the cricket ball.
But while Pollard and Smith have already created their own niche in the IPL (what with the first being the most feared batsmen from the third season and the other coming into his own in this one) this is Sammys maiden outing in the tournament. He had gone unsold in the previous editions.
And the West Indies captain will be desperate to get one better over his fellow all-rounders from three different Caribbean islands.
Expect a battle of West Indian one-upmanship on show in Hyderabad.