Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabd will be eyeing a fourth straight win on Saturday (AFP Photo)

Sunrisers Hyderabad are quickly shaping up to be the team to beat this Indian Premier League (IPL) season. Whatever the surface, they have found ways to thrive and succeed. If it were not for a rampaging Andre Russell, they would have won all four of their matches so far. The three victories they have recorded against Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals have been quite impressive.

The only loss, in their season opening game to Kolkata Knight Riders, came in a close contest which went down till the last over. Barring that, they seemed to have been quick to identify and rectify their mistakes. Death-overs bowling had been a concern in their opening two fixtures, but the bowlers stepped up in the next two matches. Batting is where they have been utterly dominant, having crossed the 200-run mark twice.

Their latest opponents are Mumbai Indians who have been erratic at best. It’s been a sort of stop-start season for the three-time IPL champions who have won twice and lost as many. Batting hasn’t been a big concern with their average total hovering around 177.

Bowling is an issue though as they have leaked runs in plenty. Barring their victory over Chennai Super Kings, they have conceded runs in their remaining three matches. DC made 213 after batting first, RCB 181 in chase of 188 and KXIP hunted down 177 with eight deliveries to spare.

What MI captain Rohit Sharma will take some confidence from their performance against CSK in which bowlers and batsmen fired in unison. Although, it was mainly due to the heroics of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard that they posted a challenging total, plundering 45 runs in the final two overs. Hardik then starred with the ball to take 3/20 as they won their second match of the season. They will have to do better than that if they harbour to stop the red-hot SRH.

What: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians, Match 18

When: April 6, 2019 (Saturday)

Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad

Time: 8:00pm (IST)

Weather: Mostly sunny with a high of 39 degrees Celsius

Teams

SRH

The question mark over regular captain Kane Williamson continues. However, SRH haven’t been affected by it much as they bat quite deep. The question is who sits out if and when he gets fit? Warner and Bairstow are a shoo in and so is the spin duo of Rashid Khan and Mohammad.

Expect them to not tinker much and maintain the winning combination unless there’s a late injury.

Probable XI: Jonny Bairstow (wk), David Warner, Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (captain), Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul

MI

The successive failures of Yuvraj Singh have put his place under threat. The pressure increased when the likes of Ishan Kishan, who was in excellent form during Indian domestic season, has been warming the benches. Can make Rohit make the tough call?

Rohit himself has been struggling to score quick runs too. His opening partner Quinton de Kock has fared better with one fifty from four innings. Overall, the top-order has been shaky with Suryakumar Yadav being the only reliable performer. Rahul Chahar played his first match for MI against CSK replacing Maynak Markande. He bowled two wicketless overs for 11 runs and should get another game.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh/Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, Jason Behrendorff

Head-to-Head

Played: 12

Won by SRH: 7

Won by MI: 5

Quotes

“We don’t want to keep that task of having to win many games at the end, it’s really difficult. We just wanted to play the brand of cricket Mumbai Indians are known for” – MI captain Rohit Sharma

“When the team does well, captaincy is always easy. Captain is as good as his team” – SRH stand-in captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar