Buoyant Sunrisers Hyderabad will face a stern test against an on-song Mumbai Indians side on Monday, as they seek to consolidate their position in the race to Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 playoffs.
Both Hyderabad and Mumbai are coming off from wins and they will aim to maintain the momentum, as the tournament heads into a crucial zone with teams are vying to book places for the next round.
Mumbai reached the second spot in the IPL 2013 points table after their five-wicket win over the miserable Pune Warriors India on Saturday. The Rohit Sharma-led side has nine wins in 13 matches, at a healthy net run rate of +0.64, and is in a comfortable position when compared to the Sunrisers in the race.
Sunrisers will have to put up an all-round show to get the better of the Mumbai Indians, who get back to their happy hunting ground — the Wankhede Stadium — where they haven’t lost a single game this season. Mumbai need one more win to qualify for the next round in the tournament and they’ll like to accomplish the task on Monday itself.
Both Sunrisers and Royal Challengers Bangalore have eight wins each in 13 matches, but a better net run rate puts RCB above the Hyderabad side in the points table and in order to close in on the gap, the Sunrisers will have to register a big win.
Sunrisers scraped to a 30-run win over Kings XI Punjab on Saturday, with Parthiv Patel and Darren Sammy being their star performers. Parthiv ended his half-century draught that lasted three long years, and a four-for from Sammy marked an impressive all-round show.
But, in order to reduce the deficit of run rate, Sunrisers’ top order will have to do their bit as the bowlers have done well. Sangakkara’s poor run and Shikhar Dhawan’s contribution will be the key in their clash with Mumbai.
Meanwhile, Mumbai’s win over Pune looked arduous as they lost as many as five top order batsmen in chase of paltry 113. Rohit struck a fluent 37, which helped his side to register their ninth win, and Mumbai took a step closer to playoffs berth.
Mumbai’s batting may have floundered a bit against the Warriors, but their batsmen are expected to fire on the Wankhede pitch. Sachin Tendulkar will hope to carry on from where he left – 28-ball 48 against Kolkata in previous game at the venue, and shrug off an ordinary run in the tournament.
Dinesh Karthik, Rohit, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith alongwith Tendulkar make Mumbai’s top order look as stronger as one can get in the tournament, and the form of their bowlers Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Pragyan Ojha and Lasith Malinga adds more to their firepower.
Sunrisers beat Mumbai by seven wickets in their clash earlier this season, something which they can draw inspiration from. But they will be the ones under pressure with top order not firing in unison, and facing an opposition as formidable as Mumbai.
MI: S Tendulkar, D Smith, D Karthik(wk), Rohit Sharma(c), A Rayudu, K Pollard/ G Maxwell, H Singh, M Johnson, P Ojha, L Malinga, A Nechim/ D Kulkarni/ J Bumrah
SRH: P Patel(wk), S Dhawan, C White/ K Sangakkara, T Perera, D Sammy, Ashish Reddy/ B Samantray, K Sharma, A Mishra, D Steyn, I Sharma
Players to watch:
R Sharma: The added pressure of captaincy has not adversely affected Rohit Sharma’s batting. Infact he has raised his game to an all new level, strengthening his reputation as the main-stay of Mumbai’s batting line-up. With the ageing Ricky Pointing misfiring, the team management will look up to Rohit as a long-term skipper.
K Sharma: With an action identical to former Zimbabwe superstar Paul Strang, the 25 year old leggie’s frugal returns have complemented the immaculate accuracy and guile of Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra respectively. Karan Sharma, is also quite handy with the willow lower down the order
Pitch: The Wankhede deck has always favored the batsmen and it is expected to be no different on Monday night.