Boasting an explosive batting line-up that complements their affective death bowling, Mumbai Indians will have their nose ahead in the IPL match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
To add to SRH’s worry, doubts remained over lead seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s participation in the match.
Bhuvneshwar picked up an injury on Friday night and was unable to complete his final over in the game against Chennai Super Kings. He walked off the field with the help of the team physio.
In the event the experienced seamer misses out, table-toppers Mumbai will fancy their chances more at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, whose boundaries are much shorter than Dubai and Abu Dhabi and have been a paradise for power-hitters.
The defending champions, having humbled a strong Kings XI Punjab in their last game, are unlikely to make any changes to the winning combination.
👀 What does Rohit Sharma mean to you in 1️⃣ word?
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) October 3, 2020
Skipper Rohit Sharma is in sublime form and he can pummel any attack into submission on his day. Rohit has scored 170 runs from four games this season.
While the poor form of Quinton De Kock is worrisome, the prolific Suryakumar Yadav would be more than keen to convert his starts.
The biggest positive for the defending champions is that their middle-order has finally delivered with Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard launching into opposition attacks with their big-hitting prowess.
Young Kishan has been the find for MI, after his blistering yet responsible knock against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Given the abilities and power of Hardik and Pollard, both can rip apart the SRH bowling especially at Sharjah, where even the outside edges fly into the stands.
Mumbai are unlikely to make any changes to their bowling combination, with all their bowlers putting up a splendid show against Kings XI Punjab.
Apart from the pacers, spinners Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya have played their parts to perfection and will be more than keen to contain the SRH batters.
SRH will also take a lot of confidence from their seven-run win over CSK, where all their youngsters delivered after the big guns failed to fire.
Kane Williamson also is a certainty in the playing XI, given his ability to take the innings deep and hold one end up.
In that case, they will have to choose from their other pacers � Basil Thampi, Sandeep Sharma or Siddharth Kaul — but none can match up Bhuvneshwar’s skills and experience.
CSK seek turnaround against KXIP
Hit hard by a start that least defines them, Chennai Super Kings would be desperate to find answers to their predicament when they take on Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.
So used to be on top of their game in the previous editions, sitting at the bottom of the points table now with three losses in four matches is an unknown territory for the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side.
Nothing has worked for them despite having the resources.
They even made three changes to their playing XI for Friday’s game against Sunrisers Hyderabad but neither comeback of Ambati Rayudu nor the presence of Dwayne Bravo could lift the gloom.
A misfiring top-order, save Faf du Plessis, combined with inadequate run-flow in the middle overs and the habit of leaving way too much for the climax, proved to be their bane in the three consecutive defeats.
They have it in them to turn it around but everything — fielding, bowling and batting — has to come together.
When the result go a team’s way, many of the frailties gets hidden but even the smallest of things get exposed when the opposite happens.
The desperation was palpable on Dhoni’s face after the latest loss.
“Long time back once we lost three in a row. We need to get a lot of things right. It is the professionalism. We need to take our catches, not bowl no-balls. Those are the controllables and may be we are getting too relaxed,” he said.
“We have been a bit too relaxed at times. After the 16th over, we had two good overs but overall we could have been slightly better.”
CSK will need one of their top-order batsmen to put runs on the board and run-rate in the middle overs need to be taken care of, too. If that happens, it will allow Dhoni to find his feet.
Dhoni has batted under tremendous pressure in the initial games and the huge expectations make his and his team’s failure look worse. By the time he goes after the attack, the asking rate would soar to unprecedented levels.
If the team can manage enough runs in the middle overs, it will give some cushion to Dhoni and other capable batsmen down the order.
But the job would be easier said than done since they are up against a side which has been batting well, though results have not exactly gone in their favour.
Despite scoring in excess of 200 twice, KL Rahul’s side lost those matches because of their limited bowling resources. None, expect Mohammed Shami, gives confidence of stopping the rival batsmen.
This is exactly what CSK must look to exploit. They need to get Punjab’s top-order early.
Overall, CSK have better resources but they must utilise them to the hilt.
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