Sharjah: Boasting an explosive batting line-up that complements their affective death bowling, Mumbai Indians will have their nose ahead in the IPL match against Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Sunday.
To add to SRH’s worry, doubts remained over lead seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s participation in the match.
Bhuvneshwar picked up an injury on Friday night and was unable to complete his final over in the game against Chennai Super Kings. He walked off the field with the help of the team physio.
In the event the experienced seamer misses out, table-toppers Mumbai will fancy their chances more at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, whose boundaries are much shorter than Dubai and Abu Dhabi and have been a paradise for power-hitters.
The defending champions, having humbled a strong Kings XI Punjab in their last game, are unlikely to make any changes to the winning combination.
Skipper Rohit Sharma is in sublime form and he can pummel any attack into submission on his day. Rohit has scored 170 runs from four games this season.
While the poor form of Quinton De Kock is worrisome, the prolific Suryakumar Yadav would be more than keen to convert his starts.
The biggest positive for the defending champions is that their middle-order has finally delivered with Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard launching into opposition attacks with their big-hitting prowess.
Young Kishan has been the find for MI, after his blistering yet responsible knock against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Given the abilities and power of Hardik and Pollard, both can rip apart the SRH bowling especially at Sharjah, where even the outside edges fly into the stands.
Mumbai are unlikely to make any changes to their bowling combination, with all their bowlers putting up a splendid show against Kings XI Punjab.
Apart from the pacers, spinners Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya have played their parts to perfection and will be more than keen to contain the SRH batters.
SRH will also take a lot of confidence from their seven-run win over CSK, where all their youngsters delivered after the big guns failed to fire.
The team management would be hoping that skipper David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey are among the runs again.
Kane Williamson also is a certainty in the playing XI, given his ability to take the innings deep and hold one end up.
If the seniors fire, that will reduce the pressure on young guns Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg and Abdul Samad.
But if Bhuvneshwar misses out, that would mean more pressure on yorker specialist T Natarajan, left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed and star spinner Rashid Khan.
In that case, they will have to choose from their other pacers – Basil Thampi, Sandeep Sharma or Siddharth Kaul — but none can match up Bhuvneshwar’s skills and experience.
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