After an inspirational run chase against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday, Mumbai Indians have proved that they are the best at their home venue. And now, they are ready to play against defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad at Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai on Wednesday.
It will be a must-watch battle between the two stars from their last match, Nitish Rana from Mumbai and Afghani leg-spinner Rashid Khan from Sunrisers, who got man of the match title in the last match.
Known for their sluggish starts in previous editions, Mumbai Indians have logged home full points in their very second match, thanks to Rana's half-century and brilliant cameo from Hardik Pandya.
This was after Hardik's elder brother Krunal put up an impressive performance with the ball grabbing three wickets. However, the third game of the tournament will be the toughest one for Mumbai, as they face an in-form Sunrisers squaring off after a couple of comprehensive victories in their previous encounters.
What must have pleased the Mumbai team management is the fact that the win against KKR was achieved with contribution from the team’s younger lot. It was a special knock by Delhi boy Rana, who had suffered a setback recently during the domestic season when he was sent back home by Delhi coach KP Bhaskar on selector’s insistence after three failures in the Vijay Hazaare Trophy.
Ironical it was that Rana's hour of glory came against Gautam Gambhir's team, as it was the former India opener who had vehemently protested the manner in which the youngster was axed from the squad.
On his part, Rana showed enormous maturity after departure of senior players like Kieron Pollard and Rohit Sharma. Hardik's 11-ball 29 runs showed why Indian team management rates him so highly in limited overs format. Earlier, his brother Krunal put brakes on KKR with two quick wickets during the early part of the innings.
Rohit will like to get a good score under the belt since he is coming back from injury, and got a harsh decision against KKR. His show of dissent earned him a reprimand also.
With Lasith Malinga improving in his latter spell after being off the boil in his first over, and Jasprit Bumrah around to bowl into the block-hole, Mumbai's death bowling looks sorted for now.
The one change Mumbai could make is to bring in Tim Southee for his New Zealand compatriot Mitchell McClenaghan, who leaked plenty of runs against KKR.
Whatever be the combination, it will have to confront a superb finisher like Yuvraj Singh. The swashbuckler did not get to bat in the second game against Gujarat Lions, with captain David Warner and fellow Australian all-rounder Moises Henriques finishing the job of chasing a small total with aplomb.
David Warner's return to form will also keep Mumbai worried. The X-factor in the attack is Afghanistan leggie Rashid, who has bamboozled the batsmen in both matches and has already five scalps in his kitty.
Though Mumbai Indians have a pretty good batting line-up, they need to be keen when it comes to the Sunrisers. In the last match against Gujrat Lions, Hyderabad have show the brilliant bowling performance by allowing them to make only 135 runs in 20.
The Afghani boy Rashid Khan has bowled some wonderful deliveries which gave him three wickets by giving only 19 runs in four overs. In their pace attack, the have experienced Indian left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra, who picked up one wicket by giving 27 runs in four overs. They also have Indian swing master Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who took two wickets in the last match by giving 21 runs in his four overs.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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