Sunrisers Hyderabad won the match against Mumbai Indians earlier this season  © AFP
Sunrisers Hyderabad won the match against Mumbai Indians earlier this season © AFP

The fight for the top-4 has heated up. With Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils faltering, today’s fixture between Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad will provide both the teams the opportunity to take an advantage. Both MI and SRH are tied on 10 points, with the latter just edging the former due to net run-rate. But MI will see this game as an must-win, considering having played an game extra in comparison to their opponents. For MI, it seems like a repeat of 2015, as they again made a very slow start, before picking up pace to win three consecutive games. SRH on the other hand can also consider themselves in form, having won the past two games. FULL SCORECARD: Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2016, Match 37 at Vishakapatnam

This fixture will be a test between the strengths of both the teams. MI and SRH can both count themselves lucky that their captains are in unassailable form. Coupled with the fact that both teams’ bowlers are performing really well, it just may come up to the fact who has more nerves. In such a crunch encounter, some players are certain to have a big impact, and here are the few listed.

1. David Warner vs Mitchell McClenaghan: Just like in international scene, an Aussie vs Kiwi battle will be on show. Warner has been in absolute peach form, which has seen him placed at third at the leading runs table. It’s not just his runs though, the fear factor he possesses has damning for other teams, who have solely concentrated on getting him out. And well, his nemesis may just be McClenaghan. A bowler blessed with one of the best bouncers in the game, McClenaghan has set fire in this season’s IPL with his bowling. A haul of 13 wickets from nine games just adds to his presence. A great battle to watch between a batsman who loves short balls and bowlers who has a dangerous short ball. ALSO READ: MI vs SRH , IPL 2016, Match 37 at Vishakapatnam: MI’s likely XI

2. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar vs Rohit Sharma: It seems the IPL has given Bhuvaneshwar Kumar the platform to announce his intent for a regular starting berth in the Indian side. Bowling in a team which also contains Ashish Nehra and ever-impressive Mustafizur Rahman, Bhuvi has done really well to be the leading wicket-taker. But he will be up against the backbone of MI. Called ‘Maggie man’, ‘No-hit Sharma’ by many, Rohit has been a complete opposite of these criticisms. A total of 393 runs in nine games have been a major factor in his side’s revival. His elegant batting coupled with some flamboyant shots will be at test against Bhuvaneshwar and Co.

3. Mustafizur Rahman vs Ambati Rayudu: What can be said about this man who hasn’t already been told. ‘Fizz’ as he is known in the cricket fraternity has been absolutely sensational. In his debut season of IPL, he has managed to scalp 10 wickets. But even more impressive is the fact that his economy rate is just 6.23! And not to forget, he is very young, just 20 years old. His slower ball is matched by none, and his yorkers could make the great Wasim Akram proud. The responsibility to negate his threat may just be shouldered to Ambati Rayudu. If Rohit is the back bone of MI, Rayudu has been the brains. The numbers that show 271 runs from 9 games isn’t bad at all, and it doesn’t tell the whole story. His consistency can be showed by the fact that his lowest score has been just 20. Rayudu will have to produce something extraordinary to negate the threat from the young bowler, who already seems to have been touching heights.

4. Shikhar Dhawan vs Jasprit Bumrah: It finally seems all the patience put on Dhawan is starting to pay off. Playing the secondary role to skipper Warner, Dhawan has slowly grown into his game. Despite having an poor strike rate of 109, Dhawan has been forced to just sit back and hold the innings. But should Warner fail, Dhawan may well be expected to take the charge, and that so against the best Indian bowler in the current time. Bumrah has just grown in stature this year. From getting his first cap for India to playing every game there on, he has been a shining light for India. And he has just taken forward the form for MI. Be it his deadly yorkers or his slower balls, batsmen are still struggling to read him. Expect a good contest between a player who will try to hold the innings and the other trying to take wickets.

(R Narayan is a reporter with CricketCountry, and is an ardent cricket and football enthusiast (big Manchester United fan). Having followed cricket since 2003, he likes high scoring matches as well as good fast bowling. His Twitter handle is @RNarayan24nov)