Two teams with two wins each from four games. But that’s where the similarities between the Mumbai Indians and the Sunrisers Hyderabad end.
The Mumbai Indians have reached here by bludgeoning the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Kings XI Punjab, while the Sunrisers had to use every last ounce of resolve against the Delhi Capitals and the Chennai Super Kings to script their two wins. The Mumbai Indians have two of the fiercest finishers in Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya, while the Sunrisers rely on the young, inexperienced trio of Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad to close out their innings. In three out of their four games, the Mumbai Indians have posted totals in excess of 190, while the highest the Sunrisers have managed so far is 164. The Mumbai Indians have a superior bowling attack too.
All that means that the Mumbai Indians start as favourites when the two teams meet on Sunday afternoon in Sharjah – the first time there for either team this season. But with two back-to-back wins, the Sunrisers will also have their tails up. The presence of Kane Williamson at No. 4, and runs from Garg and Abhishek in their last game against the Super Kings should give David Warner and Jonny Bairstow the confidence to play attacking cricket at the top, something they must aim for given the shorter boundaries in Sharjah.
In the news
It’s still not clear if Nathan Coulter-Nile has recovered from his side strain, which has kept him out of the tournament so far. But even if he is fit, the Mumbai Indians may go with an unchanged XI, with Trent Boult and James Pattinson both in the mix.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar limped off the field after hurting his thigh against the Super Kings. The details of the injury are not yet known but if he fails to recover in time, the Sunrisers have the option of bringing in Sandeep Sharma.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 James Pattinson, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Kane Williamson, 5 Priyam Garg, 6 Abhishek Sharma, 7 Abdul Samad, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Sandeep Sharma, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 T Natarajan
In T20s, Rohit Sharma has an average of 14.5 and a strike rate of 88 against Sandeep. The corresponding numbers for Suryakumar Yadav are 7.7 and 105. If Kumar isn’t available, Sandeep might not be a bad pick.
The Sunrisers should save Rashid Khan’s overs for Pollard and Pandya. Pollard has managed only 63 runs off 67 balls with one dismissal against the legspinner, while Pandya’s numbers are even poorer – 16 runs off 28 balls with two dismissals.
Stats that matter
These two teams have faced each other 14 times in the IPL, with each side winning on seven occasions.
No day T20 game has been played at Sharjah since 2018. Given the heat, whichever team wins the toss should be looking to bat first.
Since IPL 2018, Kumar has missed five games for the Sunrisers – all in 2018. Surprisingly, the Sunrisers not only won four of those games, but their bowling unit also fared better in Kumar’s absence. In those five games, they had a bowling average of 17.8 and an economy of 7.2 as opposed to 28.4 and 8.1 respectively when Kumar has been in the side.
Manish Pandey has scored 47 runs off 23 balls against Jasprit Bumrah without being dismissed even once. Among those who have faced at least 20 balls from Bumrah in T20s, only JP Duminy has a better strike rate (211) than Pandey’s 204.
This will be Trent Boult’s 100th T20 match. For Warner, it will be his 50th time captaining the Sunrisers in the IPL.
Pandey is 40 short of 3000 runs in the IPL.