It’s the clash of the bigwigs: two-time IPL champions take on the tournament’s last winners, in an encounter that promises to be an absorbing affair, even on paper. While Hyderabad has been on a run with two consecutive wins, Mumbai, in typical fashion, have had an indifferent start: winning and losing a match apiece.
Last match’s breakaway win against the Kolkata Knight Riders must have sent a surge of confidence through the Mumbai ranks, but they have their task cut out against the defending champions, who will themselves have to guard against complacency while sitting pretty at the top of the table.
Also read: IPL Live Score 2017: Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad live commentary
Here’s what the Mumbai line-up could look like against SRH:
The enterprising hard-hitter, who owes the IPL for getting a place into the Test side, is one of Mumbai’s best bets at the top of the order. He got off to breezy starts in both the fixtures, scoring 28 and 38 to set the ball rolling in the powerplays. If he stays longer at the crease, the game is all but out of reach of the opposition.
He’s been a traveller, he has changed sides almost every season, but Parthiv Patel has finally got a settled role at the top for Mumbai: if he manages to score big in the innings to come. He is fairly inconsistent, which is his biggest liability: he’ll give you starts, but will fall just when you think he’ll get going.
Coming back from injury is tough for any sportsperson, be it someone as natural and talented as Rohit Sharma. The long layoff might have made it rusty, but a few games will be enough to brush off the dust and uncover the Rohit of old. Also, Team India won’t mind if Rohit uses the IPL as a springboard to get his form back before the Champions Trophy starts. With scores of 2 and 3 in the two innings, there might be a few raised eyebrows though.
One of the products of the IPL, the hard hitting Rana did not have the best of seasons coming into the tournament, and was even axed from the Vijay Hazare Trophy line-up. Yet, he managed to find a place in the star-studded line-up and has utilised it to the maximum: scoring a 29-ball 50 against KKR to pull of an amazing chase. In the absence of Ambati Rayudu, Mumbai has found the ideal No.4 for their team.
It’s a fact that Pollard isn’t as lethal an all-rounder as he used to be, with runs coming in a trickle and the bowling looking severely off-colour. Yet, the hard-hitting batsman is the sort of temperamental player who can turn the match completely on its head, all of sudden. Yet, time is running out quickly for Pollard, who might have to make more contributions than just his brilliance in the field.
One-half of the lethal Pandya combination, Krunal Pandya must be setting his eyes on an India spot, much like what his brother managed last year. For that, however, Krunal will have to offer more with the bat, and be more consistent with the ball. He took a severe beating in the first match, but came back well to pick up three wickets in their win over KKR.
It has been just two matches, but Hardik Pandya has already reinforced his image of being the next big superstar. Regardless of the fact that he bats low down the order, Hardik doesn’t need warming up at all, and can easily come in and smack the ball. Two sensational knocks from the lanky all-rounder, especially the 30-run thrashing of Ashoke Dinda, have pushed the expectations bar a little higher.
He was axed from the first match, but Mumbai Indians’ most successful spinner, an integral part of the team across all seasons, returned to play the containing role. He doesn’t pick up wickets like in his heydays, but is employed to arrest the leak of runs in the middle overs. He’s their primary spinner, and the team would need a little change in the wickets column, come next match.
Easily the find of the year for Team India in 2016, Bumrah is back to employing his trade for the franchise that helped him get a platform to be noticed. His awkward, yet highly effective bowling action, sends down yorkers at searing pace, and can be sometimes unplayable. Along with Malinga, Bumrah can squeeze out the run-flow completely.
The burli Kiwi pacer hasn’t had a good start to IPL 2017: his economy figures look like skyscrapers on the bar chart. Although he is quick, he can sometimes become unpredictable, banging length balls that have ‘hit me’ written all over it. If he mixes his lengths up nicely, and gets a wicket or two upfront, his confidence level jumps up, making him bowl better lines. With Tim Southee waiting in the wings, McClenaghan would have to churn out better performances.
The toe-crushing machine is back with a bang. Coming on the wave of a T20I hattrick, Lasith Malinga showed all signs of being in his destructive best against KKR, mixing up the pacy yorkers with the bamboozling slower balls. He looks fitter and sharp, has regained control over his lines, and looks set to be the crucial element in Mumbai’s bowling attack.