The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderbad is set to host the final game of the first round of IPL 8. This edition of the IPL by far has been the most riveting one. Today is the final day of the first round, and just two teams have sealed their playoffs spot. Two spots still remain up for grabs. As a matter of fact, the last game, between the Sunrisers and the Mumbai Indians is a virtual quarter final. The winner shall proceed to the playoffs while the loser shall pack his bags. The teams can be proud of the quality of cricket played in this IPL. The competitive nature of this edition is a feat in itself.
The hosts could have easily won their encounter against the Royal Challengers a couple of nights back. But David Warner endured a “Lagaan” moment only to hand the game to the Royal Challengers. The Mumbai Indians on the other hand come on the back off a literal steal! They were almost out of the IPL when they were defending their total against the Knight Riders. But some extremely poor cricket from Kolkata helped Mumbai and kept them alive. Viewers will be praying that rain does not spoil this promising clash.
PREVIOUS CLASH (THIS YEAR):
The two sides met in this IPL on the 25th of April at the Wankhede Stadium. The hosts batted first and got to a moderate total of 157. That was mainly due to Simmons, who scored a scratchy half century. Rohit Sharma and Pollard chipped in with their contributions, but some terrific death bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar meant that the hosts were restricted to a below par total. The Sunrisers got off to a flier and Dhawan went all guns blazing. Mumbai were back in the game once the first wicket fell, and later with Dhawan too departing, the hosts tightened their grip over the game. Malinga and McClenaghan were simply too hot to handle for the inexperienced Hyderabad middle order. In the end, the Sunrisers fell short by a margin of 20 runs. Malinga was duly named the Man of the Match for his figures of 4-1-23-4.
Warner is the proud holder of the Orange Cap. This Australian has been the spine of the Sunrisers batting. He has time and again destroyed bowling attacks and taken the Sunrisers past the winning line. In the most important game of the tournament, it will be Warner’s responsibility to once again lead from the front and by example.
Kumar has undoubtedly been the best bowler in this IPL. Even though he doesn’t hold the Purple Cap, his contribution is much more than the wickets tally. Kumar has reinvented himself as a bowler in this IPL. He was always brilliant at the start with the new ball. But in this IPL, his death bowling skills have improved big time. People have now seen a much improved Bhuvi. With Steyn struggling for form, the onus will be on Bhuvi to deliver.
The Mumbai Indians skipper too has had a great IPL. Apart from scoring well, Rohit has also led with a motive. His captaincy in this IPL has been exceptional. Be it promoting Hardik Pandya or giving Pollard the last over, Rohit has struck gold with his captaincy. Against the Sunrisers though, Rohit will have to repeat his brilliance if the Mumbai Indians are to qualify for the play-offs.
Malinga was the difference when these two sides first met in this IPL. It was in the game against the Sunrisers when he regained his magical touch. Malinga may not be as lethal as he was a couple of years ago, but he still is a threat. It will surely be Malinga’s duty to stop the pair of David – Dhawan from wrecking havoc.
1. D. Warner 2. S. Dhawan 3. N. Ojha 4. KL Rahul 5. E. Morgan 6. M. Henriques 7. B. Sharma 8. D. Steyn 9. B. Kumar 10. K. Sharma 11. P. Kumar
1. L. Simmons 2. P. Patel 3. R. Sharma 4. A. Rayudu 5. K. Pollard 6. H. Pandya 7. H. Singh 8. J. Suchith 9. L. Malinga 10. R. Vinaykumar 11. M. McClenaghan