The most interesting patch of the IPL begins on Thursday. In four days running up to Sunday, we will have six matches which will decide the final lineup of the playoffs. Two teams have qualified, and two are out of the picture. Only two of the remaining four can advance and their fates will be decided on these four days. We kick off the action with Mumbai Indians taking on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium.
MI has been up and down as their two wins and two losses from the last four matches suggest. Their batting lineup is still changing every game and apart from Quinton de Kock and Hardik Pandya, no batsman can vouch for consistency. Their bowlers were hammered by KKR at Eden Gardens in the last game.
On the other hand, the welcome win against Kings XI Punjab will boost SRH’s morale, despite their greatest asset leaving them. David Warner’s absence will leave a huge void which Martin Guptill will be tasked to fulfill. SRH’s initial success was built upon the batsmanship of Warner and Jonny Bairstow. Captain Kane Williamson will have to step up in the upcoming games. Here are a few interesting aspects to ponder upon from this match.
MI’s musical chairs
Mumbai Indians are known to maintain a core team, a strategy that has made them a formidable unit over the years. Taking a look at their batting lineup, six of the seven places are automatic selections. It’s the seventh spot which remains the issue. MI Management has tried Yuvraj Singh, Ishan Kishan and Evin Lewis but none has been able to cement himself into the playing XI. Lewis in the last match labored to 15 from 16 balls in a crunch situation. His spot will be under scrutiny.
Fresh opening pair for SRH
Warner and Bairstow had a bumper opening in the IPL. The Aussie-English duo cruised to three consecutive centuries at the top and helped SRH get a promising start in the tournament. Now, both of them have returned for national duties, and Sunrisers will have to find a new pair for facing the new ball. Wriddhiman Saha did a fine job with a 28(13) against KXIP. New Zealand’s Martin Guptill is also waiting in the wings. Can they reignite the Warner-Bairstow magic or not, remains to be seen.
Death masters seek a comeback
Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah are undoubtedly the best in business when it comes to bowling the death overs. Both are incredibly accurate at bowling yorkers and trouble the batsmen with their pace variations. However, they went off radar against the Andre Russell onslaught at Eden Gardens. Together, they conceded 92 runs in their eight overs without taking a wicket. Coming back to the comfort of Wankhede Stadium, Bumrah-Malinga will hope to unleash their fury once again.