Mumbai enter familiar territory as qualification threat looms large

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20 May 2023 | 11:19 AM
authorShweta Haranhalli

Mumbai enter familiar territory as qualification threat looms large

The five-time champions ought to win against Sunrisers Hyderabad with a considerable margin and hope that Bangalore don't get the better of the Titans

Mumbai Indians and must-win encounters have kind of become really close ally. Over the years, the five-time champions have found themselves battling for survival as the Indian Premier League steps into the business end, and this edition is no different. 

The Rohit Sharma-led outfit stuck to their slow-starting pattern and managed to win only three games in the first half of the competition. While they went on a roll and recorded four wins in the following six matches, their heart-wrenching defeat against Lucknow leaves them in a muddle ahead of their final fixture. 

On the other hand, the Orange Army are languishing at the bottom of the table with only four wins in 13 league games. There ain't any doubt that this has been a season to forget for Aiden Markram and his men, but the Sunrisers would hope to turn their fortunes around in the City of Dreams and end the season on a high. 

With fate still in their hands, Mumbai will aim to produce a dominant performance and potentially be in a position to qualify for the playoffs. 

Things to watch out for

What does the qualification probability look like?

Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants are currently on 15 points in 13 league matches, and a win for them will secure their place in the playoffs. 

A win for Mumbai will take them to 16 points, but given Royal Challengers Bangalore are playing in the evening, they would have a clear understanding of the margin of win they require to topple Mumbai's Net Run Rate. 

Also read: IPL Playoff Qualification Scenarios: MI & RCB tussle for the last spot 

For Mumbai to have an easy route to the playoffs, they need to record a win by around 100 runs and hope that the defending champions get the better of RCB in their own den. 

The curious case of Umran Malik 

One of the talking points in Sunrisers' dismal outing in this edition has been the exclusion of Umran Malik from the playing XI. The right-arm pacer has the ability to consistently clock over 150 kmph and rattle the opposition batters with extreme pace and bounce. 

However, the 23-year-old was dropped from the playing XI after some lukewarm performances in the early stages of the competition. Malik has scalped five wickets in 17 overs at an economy rate of 10.4 and hasn't played a game since their away clash against Delhi on April 29. 

"We have great expectations of Umran, and he has got Dale Steyn to work with. It's strictly on the fact about the form of the player that we look at before picking the team," Lara stated in a post-match press conference. 

While there ain't any doubt about the potential of the youngster, it will be interesting to see if they include their X-factor in the final game and end the season on a high. 

Mumbai's death over conundrum

In the mega auction ahead of IPL 2022, Mumbai Indians acquired the services of Jofra Archer for INR 8 Crores, much to the excitement of all the fans. With Jasprit Bumrah in the mix and the addition of Archer, Mumbai's fast-bowling resources looked lethal, to say the least. However, with injuries marring their glittering careers, Mumbai have suffered the most, with the duo missing out on most games in the last couple of seasons. 

The experienced bowling unit of Mumbai has been exposed time and again, especially in the backend of the innings on batting-friendly wickets to compound to Rohit's existing trouble. 

In this season, Mumbai have leaked at an economy rate of 12.2 runs per over at the death (16-20), which is the most by a team in the final phase of the innings. 

The team management would hope for their senior pacers, Chris Jordan and Jason Benrendorff to shoulder the responsibility of the side in the pressure overs. 

Pitch & conditions

If you're a batter struggling for runs in the tournament, Wankhede Stadium is the venue you ought to come to find your form. The wicket in Mumbai has been conducive for strokeplay, with the average first innings total around the 197-run mark and the average winning total around 221. 

Over the years, the stadium has been known to assist the fast bowlers, and this season has been no different. The quicks have scalped 38 out of the 69 wickets, which is 55.1 percent of the dismissals compared to 31 by the spinners, which accounts for 44.9 percent. 

With the game set to be played in the afternoon, dew will not have a significant role, but expect the captains to field first after winning the toss. 

Tactical nous

> Aiden Markram will hold the key for the Orange Army in this clash, and Mumbai will be well aware of his exploits in the shortest format. The right-handed batter endured an up-and-down tournament and scored 235 runs in 12 innings at an average of 21.36. 

However, the 28-year-old will be wary of his weakness against left-arm spinners. In the IPL since 2021, Markram has been dismissed on seven occasions against orthodox spinners and has an average of 7.4. It will not be a bad idea for Rohit Sharma to introduce Kumar Kartikeya as soon as the skipper walks out to bat. 

> The Orange Army will aim to get rid of Suryakumar Yadav early in the innings after his exploits at the same venue against the Titans. The right-handed batter is susceptible against left-arm spinners and has been dismissed twice in 14 deliveries. With Mayank Dagar in the mix, Markram will be tempted to use this match-up against Mumbai to dismantle their batting unit. 

Team combination

Despite a heart-wrenching loss against Lucknow, Mumbai, in all probability, will continue with the same playing XI, with Akash Madhwal and Vishnu Vinod in the playing XI before being subbed out, depending on the toss. 

Rohit Sharma could also opt to use Kumar Kartikeya instead of Hrithik Shokeen, considering the right-handed dominated batting unit of Hyderabad. 

Mumbai Indians XI: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Ishan Kishan (wk), Cameron Green, Suryakumar Kumar, Nehal Wadhera, Tim David, Chris Jordan, Hrithik Shokeen / Kumar Kartikeya, Piyush Chawla, Jason Benrendorff, Akash Madhwal / Vishnu Vinod

With an aim to end the season on high, Sunrisers Hyderabad will be tempted to draft Umran Malik in the team in place of Nitish Reddy. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad XI: Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram (Captain), Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Harry Brook, Glenn Phillips, Abdul Samad, Kartik Tyagi, Mayank Dagar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Nitish Reddy / Umran Malik

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Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers HyderabadIndian Premier League, 2023Mumbai IndiansSunrisers HyderabadUmran MalikSuryakumar YadavRohit SharmaAiden MarkramChris JordanJofra ArcherKumar KartikeyaMayank Dagar

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