Despite a defeat in their season opener, Mumbai Indians have a lot to be pleased about. Mayank Markande’s dream debut lays to rest some of the concerns about their inexperience in the spin department. Their middle order showed enough maturity for Rohit Sharma to continue as opener. And they have been in this situation before: Mumbai have not won their first game for the past six seasons, yet they have won the IPL in three of those six years.
What will worry them, though, are the performances of their specialist bowlers. Jasprit Bumrah and Mustafizur Rahman, considered to among the world’s best quicks at the end of the innings, conceded 76 runs off 47 balls, while Mitchell McClenaghan went at 11 per over. For Mumbai to get their first win this season, these three will have to finish with prettier numbers.
It won’t be easy for Mumbai, who are up against the team with the most dominant performance of the season thus far. With the bat, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson showed that Sunrisers Hyderabad win in David Warner’s absence. The numbers also suggest Wriddhiman Saha enjoys batting against Mumbai. Their power-packed middle order is still untested, and while that may serve as a disadvantage, rest assured the trio of Yusuf Pathan, Manish Pandey and Shakib Al Hasan will be raring to have a hit.
Sunrisers also have a potent spin unit, with Rashid Khan and Shakib already having an impact in the game against Royals, but Mumbai’s middle order consists of players who can combat them. In Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and brothers Krunal and Hardik Pandya, Mumbai have a batting order that could make for an absorbing contest against spin.
In the news
Pat Cummins, Mumbai’s INR 5.4 crore (USD 831,475) purchase, has been ruled out of the IPL due to a back-related injury. He did not even arrive in India. They have not named a replacement player yet. Sunrisers have no such injury concerns.
The likely XIs
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Shakib Al Hasan 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10 Billy Stanlake, 11 Siddarth Kaul
Mumbai Indians: 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Ishan Kishan (wk), 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Keiron Pollard, 8 Jasprit Bumrah 9 Mitchell McClenaghan 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Mayank Markande
Stats that matter
Saha and Dhawan, Sunrisers’ openers, average 48.6 and 44.7 respectively against Mumbai with seven 50-plus scores between them.
Hardik, Krunal and Pollard, Nos. 5 to 7 for Mumbai, have a death-overs strike-rate of 172.7, 175.6 and 177.3. In Smart Strike Rate terms, that’s 182.33, 225.73 and 175.36.
The team batting first won 75% of all IPL matches in Hyderabad last season
Give Krunal Pandya the ball.
Mumbai chose not to use him against Chennai Super Kings, but bowling Krunal will allow Mumbai to better redistribute the inevitable pressure on their bowlers. If any one of them is taking a beating, Krunal’s typically economical overs will come in handy. Hyderabad’s ground is also known to be conducive to spin, and Krunal’s economy of 7.15 in the IPL is impressive. In fact, his Smart Economy rate, at 6.61, is even better.
Shakib’s a smart pick because he bowls out before the death. His middle-overs economy is 6.9, and his accuracy often fetches him wickets with batsmen attempting to hit him. If you can get both Shakib and Rashid, nothing better.
Markande, perhaps? The ground has traditionally helped wristspinners and Sunrisers may consciously choose to see his overs out, given his debut performance and how little time teams have had to suss him out.