Two seasoned skippers of the IPL - David Warner and Rohit Sharma will take on each other in the colossal contest of the year at the batting-friendly Sharjah cricket stadium. Expect a lot of runs, by a lot, I mean well above 200 from both sides in the first clash of the Sunday doubleheader.
Mumbai Indians - W L W L W
Table-toppers Mumbai Indians walk into the encounter against Sunrisers Hyderabad on a purple patch. After losing their first game against the three-time IPL champions, Chennai Super Kings, the Men in Blue and Gold have returned sharply with a timely win against Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab to ensure that they have reached the top of the table. While the issues that threatened them in the first game - Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah’s form has become their strongest hold in the aftermath of the CSK encounter, with the likes of Kieron Pollard, Ishan Kishan and James Pattinson putting in their well-needed shifts. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad, they would be highly confident of beating the David Warner-led side on Sunday.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - W W L L L
After three consecutive losses, Sunrisers Hyderabad finally jumped back on board, with two victories to resurrect their season. Despite that, the franchise is still battling a struggling top-order, who have not yet made a vital contribution this season, with both David Warner and Jonny Bairstow struggling to find the momentum. While Manish Pandey has been in excellent touch thus far, he has failed to convert his starts into a good score, which is a grave concern for the Sunrisers. However, their batting has been blessed by the Indian young blood Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma. On the other hand, an injury to Bhuvneshar Kumar has come as a setback to their settled bowling combination. At the same time, the likes of Rashid Khan, T Natarajan and Khaleel Ahmed have performed at the right moment.
Mumbai Indians - Rohit Sharma
Mumbai Indians’ batting unit has had several contributions from their top-five batsman but none more consistent than their skipper and their pillar-of-strength, Rohit Sharma. Following the indifferent showing against CSK in the opener, the right-hander has bounced back sharply, with knocks that have justified his stature, scoring 170 runs at an average of 42.50. In his last game, he scored a 70 off 45 deliveries, dishing out eight boundaries and three sixes. Against KKR earlier in the season, Rohit scored another 54-ball 80, with three boundaries and six sixes which all but transformed their season. Against Sunrisers bowling unit, there is a high chance that the Indian opener might once again showcase his plethora of attacking shots.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow would walk into this encounter on a lull after two consecutive failures. Yet at the same time, he would also walk in as confident as he would have been in the entire tournament, knowing that he would have to bat in Sharjah, one of the smallest grounds in the world. Despite his struggling form, expect him to fire immediately with an eye to the 50m boundary in Sharjah, which would only help Sunrisers Hyderabad to regain their confidence. While he has just played the one game against Mumbai, he would be itching his hands to face the likes of James Pattinson and co, whom he has faced in plenty from last year.
Mumbai Indians - James Pattinson
With the pitches wearing out and conditions slowing down, the impact of James Pattinson is only set to improve and become more well-established. However, up against him would be a difficult ground for a bowler - Sharjah International Cricket stadium. It has been a nightmare for the bowlers to adjust to the conditions at the venue. However, one good thing for Pattinson would be that Sunrisers Hyderabad’s batting unit has looked rusty in the last two games, which would only bolster the pacer’s confidence. Coupled with the fact that he has a plethora of variations under his sleeve, his bowling might well be the difference between Mumbai bowlers being dismissed for runs and them restricting the opposition.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - Khaleel Ahmed
Sunrisers Hyderabad would walk into this encounter with an injured soldier in their regiment, with Bhuvneshar Kumar all but ruled out of the clash against Mumbai with an apparent injury. Expect the Sunrisers management to slot in the experienced pacer Siddarth Kaul in the starting XI. However, that would only mean more responsibility on the shoulders of young pacers, Khaleel Ahmed and T Natarajan. While Natarajan has performed exceptionally well in the last two games, the left-arm pace of Khaleel has gone largely unnoticed. Even in the clash against Chennai Super Kings, it was Khaleel who bailed the team out of troubled waters, conceding just 15 runs in the penultimate over of the game, which helped Sunrisers win. Expect him to play a bigger role against Mumbai, with his slower deliveries coming into play.
SRH: David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
When to Watch: Oct 4, 3.30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (in India)