Sunrisers Hyderabad will be up for a stiff challenge when they take on the Mumbai Indians at their home ground in Hyderabad. Arguably two of the strongest teams in the IPL at the moment, the two teams will have different motives in their minds when they come out to flex muscle against each other.
For Mumbai, who have already become the first team to qualify for the playoffs, it will be all about maintaining their dominant stature at the top of the points table. SRH, on the other hand, currently find themselves in a sticky position after dropping to the fourth position in the points table, thanks to the back to back losses in recent games.
Teams pay a heavy price for losing in the latter part of the league stages. SRH, at the moment, is going through the same trouble. Two defeats at the hands of Pune and Delhi now threaten their chances of finishing in the top two of the points table.
To ensure they qualify directly to the Qualifiers, SRH has to win both their remaining matches (which includes the upcoming MI game) and also expect Pune and KKR to commit blunders at the same time.
MI has better chances to keep their numero uno position as they have three matches left. But, this factor does not them any liberty to be laid back. They must also beat at win two matches out of their remaining fixtures to easily end as the top team.
SRH is in need of wins. This puts more pressure on them to be at their best. The defending champions, in the recent matches, has faced problems in the bowling as well as the batting department which should be a worry. The ‘fortress’ factor also no longer stand valid after the loss to Pune at their home ground. This would remove one small block from the minds of the opposition.
Relatively, MI has fared well and will be coming on the back of an emphatic 146 runs win over Delhi Daredevils. MI’s bowling and batting prowess are at peak of its powers. This should make SRH fans little nervous.
Tracking the strength:
David Warner will, as usual, be the backbone of the batting order. In all sense, the SRH batting revolves around him as the other batsmen act as supporting cast and make contributions occasionally to help the team defend the title. Thanks to this condition, Warner happens to be the strength as well as the weakness of the side. If he succeeds, the teams succeeds but if he fails, the chances of winning goes down badly.
We can expect the SRH bowlers to do well. The opposition will be wary of Rashid Khan. Bhuvi and Sidharth Kaul will trouble with their accuracy while Moises Henriques and Yuvraj are also expected to play handy roles. If these men succeed in neutralising star-studded MI line-up, the home crowd can breathe easy and assume that half the battle has been won.
MI’s stronger and more reliable batting sums up their strength factor. In a nutshell, all of the men are in form and capable of tearing apart any bowling attack. The likes of Kieron Pollard, skipper Rohit Sharma, Nitish Rana, Hardik and Krunal Pandya will be itching to come out and display their dominance. Also, the inclusion of West Indian Lendl Simmons has added a whole new dimension to the team.
Mumbai Indians may be the favourites, but only by a slight margin. They get the benefit of SRH current lack of form and their record during the final parts of the league stages in the last season where they lost two back to back matches to slip to the third position in the points table. Well, it might be a case of past, but it speaks for their ability to handle pressure. MI also holds the edge over SRH overall in the batting as well bowling departments.