I am on a break, have to see my family: Nitin Menon
29 Apr 2021
First things first. The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League received some serious threat when two of the Kolkata Knight Riders players Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for COVID-19. To make matter worse, three CSK members, bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji, CEO Kasi Viswanathan and an unnamed bus driver also tested positive for the same. However, as of now, the tournament will go on with Mumbai Indians slated to lock horns against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 31st match of the competition.
While the defending champions have got their campaign back on track with back to back victories, the Sunrisers Hyderabad seem to be a puzzled unit and need a miracle to turn their fortunes around. Handing over the captaincy to Kane Williamson midway through the tournament was a big call.
David Warner, who has been a consistent performer for SRH over the years was sacked and also dropped from the XI. It was a huge call given the impact Warner had on the franchise. Williamson might have captained SRH brilliantly in the past, but his comeback to the role wasn’t a pleasant one as SRH were hammered by Rajasthan Royals by 55 runs.
With several questions yet to be answered for the Orange Army, Mumbai Indians will come into the encounter high on confidence after chasing down a mammoth target set by CSK in the previous encounter. Riding on a Kieron Pollard special, MI chased down the target in the final delivery of the match to continue their domination against the Yellow brigade.
There are several areas where Mumbai need to work on. They have faltered especially in the field and their bowling and fielding haven’t been up to the mark. Despite not playing anywhere close to their potential, MI occupy the fourth position with four wins in seven matches. This gives a vivid idea about the strength that MI possess. They have relied on the match-ups quite a bit and the match against Hyderabad wouldn’t be any different.
Nothing has gone SRH’s way this season so far. None of their star players has managed to make the match-winning contribution which has resulted in their decline match after match. With Warner being dropped from the XI, SRH decided to go for a foreign all-rounder which backfired in the match against RR. However, they have to back their decision and look for results in the upcoming matches.
Can MI continue the winning run?
A battle between two teams with contrasting performances in the tournament so far. Despite MI not being at their best, they have managed to pull out important victories which still gives them more than realistic chances of qualifying through to the playoffs.
The opening duo of Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma has done wonders for the franchise over the last three years. However, their consistency has been an area of concern for the defending champions. While QDK has stormed back to form with some impressive knocks in the last two matches, we haven’t yet seen the best of Rohit Sharma in the tournament so far.
Suryakumar Yadav despite looking in sublime touch in all the matches hasn’t quite managed to convert his starts. Given the impact he had on this franchise, SKY getting back to form is the need of the hour for MI. The back end of the middle order hasn’t been tested much but the whirlwind display from Pollard the other day will surely give them huge confidence going into the rest of the tournament.
While Hardik Pandya hasn’t bowled so far in the tournament, the rest of the bowlers have done a reasonable job. However, consistency has been an issue. Leggie Rahul Chahar has been the go-to bowler for Rohit Sharma in this edition so far and has always bagged important wickets at crucial junctures of the game.
Jasprit Bumrah had a rare off-day against CSK conceding 56 runs in 4 overs which remains the worst spell in his IPL career. Trent Boult has been on and off in the tournament. While on occasions he has pinged yorkers at the death, on others he has leaked runs. The deadly duo needs to get their act right in the upcoming games if MI hopes of making a hat-trick of titles.
Can SRH defy all the odds?
With David Warner being left out of the XI, the opening combination remains a real worry for the Orange Army. While Jonny Bairstow has got his side off to some blistering starts but hasn’t got enough support at the other end. Manish Pandey came out to open with Bairstow in the previous encounter and SRH might stick with this pair against Mumbai. However just to turn things around, they need two aggressive batsmen at the top who can take advantage of the powerplay.
The middle-order has been found wanting against quality bowling line-ups. While there have been partnerships in the middle overs, the scoring rate has been questionable. It was due to the lack of intent in the middle overs that Manish Pandey was dropped from the XI. Even Warner’s struggle in the middle overs forced SRH to go for other options.
Having some lusty hitters towards the back end of the innings, the middle order needs to provide a platform to the likes of Abdul Samad, Mohammad Nabi. Samad is a sensational striker of the ball and sending him up the order could also be a viable option.
As far as the bowling line-up is concerned, none of the bowlers including Rashid Khan has managed to make a significant impact in the tournament. Rashid has bagged some wickets but hasn’t been match-winning spells. Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn’t played all the matches and despite returning for the previous match he had a torrid day.
Match: SRH vs MI, 31st Match, Indian Premier League 2021
Date: Tuesday, May 04, 2021
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi
Mohammad Nabi was given a game against the Royals but Williamson found it difficult to give him the ball with Jos Buttler in full flow. He tends to dart in most of his deliveries and this ploy might backfire against the mighty MI batting-up. Jason Holder could replace Nabi for the foreign all-rounder’s slot.
Sandeep Sharma who had a tough time with the ball against RR could also face the brunt. However, he has a good record against MI and might be given one more game. No injuries have been reported in the camp and the rest of the XI should remain the same.
Probable XI: Jonny Bairstow (WK), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson (C), Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, Jason Holder, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma
The defending champions might not change their winning combination but axing Ishan Kishan might not be the best move going forward. He has been a class act and was a prolific run-scorer in the last edition.
He has been a sensation in the middle overs and should be brought back to the XI. Jimmy Neesham who got his first game the other day should retain his place. However, there are chances of Coulter-Nile coming back to the fold as well. Meanwhile, Dhawal Kulkarni might not retain his place in the XI.
Probable XI- Quinton de Kock (WK), Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Jimmy Neesham/Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Fantasy/Dream 11 Prediction
Wicket-keeper- Jonny Bairstow, Quinton de Kock
Batsmen- Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Kane Williamson, Abdul Samad
All-rounders- Kieron Pollar, Krunal Pandya
Bowlers- Rashid Khan, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed