Mumbai, May 20 (PTI): Five-time champions Mumbai Indians will be desperate for a victory by a big margin over wooden spooners Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Sunday, in what could also be their last outing in this year’s Indian Premier League.
While SRH are already ruled out of the race to the playoffs, Mumbai Indians, who have one last chance left, will be keen to make the most of their excellent show here at the Wankhede Stadium this season so far, and bolster their chances of qualification.
With four wins and two defeats, MI have certainly taken full advantage of their home ground, something that Rohit Sharma’s men would want to continue as they also have the final opportunity to improve their Net Run Rate (NRR).
Unlike Rajasthan Royals who have finished the league round with 14 points and a superior NRR of 0.148, Mumbai Indians can do one better and end with 16 points, but they must also win big.
Currently at fourth, Royal Challengers Bangalore can be described as being in pole position since they have a better NRR of 0.180 than MI (-0.128) and RR.
RCB can also grab two vital points if they get the better of Gujarat Titans, but more importantly, Faf du Plessis’ side would know what exactly is required of them since they play the last game of the league round later on Sunday evening.
Mumbai Indians’ chances will get stronger if they win and RCB lose, whereas if they both win their respective games on Sunday, the NRR will come into play. Needless to say, a loss would shut the doors on MI’s chances.
The race to the IPL playoffs has perhaps been the most intense this year, with the last two days of the league round determining as many as three out of the four playoffs spots.
For that matter, Kolkata Knight Riders’ chances are extremely low, whereas Delhi Capitals, Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad have been knocked out.
It will be imperative for the Rohit-led side to not squander opportunities like they did in the last two games, allowing Gujarat Titans to reduce the margin of defeat drastically while losing to Lucknow Super Giants by five runs and missing out on two points, which at this stage, would have kept MI above both RCB and RR.
MI’s biggest concern, on their home ground, has been their bowling which conceded four totals on the trot in excess of 200 and nearly a fifth against RCB, which has left their batters under severe pressure.
On several occasions, MI have allowed games to drift away from their control with poor bowling at the death and the team’s coaching staff and think tank will be pushed to the hilt to get better results this time around.
Despite Rohit blowing hot and cold, MI’s batting has pulled off difficult tasks with ease and the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Tim David, Cameron Green, Ishan Kishan and Nehal Wadhera will be expected to go all guns blazing against SRH’s bowlers.
Having gone through a lull of five single-digit scores including two noughts, Rohit has tried to bat himself back into form with an 18-ball 29 and a 25-ball 37 in his last two outings. MI will hope that their captain fires big in the crunch game.
However, with nothing to lose, SRH will aim to end on a high and repeat most of the good work they did against RCB in their last outing.
Heinrich Klaasen’s superb century came too late in this IPL for SRH’s liking but they gave a glimpse of what they can do with the bat, although as a side, the 2016 champions have lacked both direction and firepower.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Chris Jordan, Arshad Khan, Jason Behrendorff, Dewald Brevis, Piyush Chawla, Tim David, Raghav Goyal, Cameron Green, Ishan Kishan (wk), Duan Jansen, Chris Jordan, Kumar Kartikeya, Akash Madhwal, Riley Meredith, Shams Mulani, Ramandeep Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Hrithik Shokeen, Tristan Stubbs, Arjun Tendulkar, Tilak Varma, Vishnu Vinod, Nehal Wadhera, Suryakumar Yadav.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Aiden Markram (c), Abdul Samad, Rahul Tripathi, Glenn Phillips, Abhishek Sharma, Marco Jansen, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Kartik Tyagi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T. Natarajan, Umran Malik, Harry Brook, Mayank Agarwal, Heinrich Klaasen, Adil Rashid, Mayank Markande, Vivrant Sharma, Samarth Vyas, Sanvir Singh, Upendra Yadav, Mayank Dagar, Nitish Kumar Reddy, Akeal Hosein and Anmolpreet Singh.
Match starts at 3:30 pm IST.