Things are going from bad to worse for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. One may think that they have already squandered a golden chance to get a headstart in IPL 2021, winning only one out of their five games in Chennai, a venue where the pitch was supposed to suit their style of play.
Now coming to the north, to the unforeseen batting friendly tracks of the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Hyderabad’s campaign has gone completely “south”. They have lost both their games here. What is more worrisome is the margin of defeats. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that they have been outplayed in every sense of the word.
But that is not it. While they are battling with the conditions, their opponents in the upcoming fixture have everything going their way on the same front. The opponents too are none other than Mumbai Indians. Always a tough side to beat, they become a dangerous proposition with conditions in their favor. Moreover, they are high in confidence, having defeated Chennai Super Kings in their previous match, by pulling off the second highest run-chase in IPL history.
In short, the contest highlights juxtapositions between the two teams and it will be a mountain to climb for Hyderabad in Match 31 of IPL 2021.
Nowhere to hide for Hyderabad pacers
The flat pitch at Kotla has rendered Hyderabad’s pace attack ineffective. A line-up of seamers heavily reliant on slowness of the surface has been neutralized by the true nature of the track.
Even the leader of the pact, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, has bowled like a pale shadow of himself. He averages 57.7 for his three wickets in five games and has an economy of 9.1, his first season with the economy in excess of 8.
The pitch has been a nightmare for spinners which is why Mohammad Nabi bowled only one over against Rajasthan Royals. Rashid Khan is the only saving grace but the failures of everyone around him has not let Hyderabad benefit from his exploits.
Mumbai, on the other hand, have pulled things back with the death bowling of Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah. The come back was absent in the last game but you don’t expect this class duo to fail in consecutive games.
The lop-sided batting composition
A big reason why Hyderabad had a far lesser chance of chasing 220 than Mumbai who actually chased down 218 a night ago at the same venue is the difference in batting dynamics of both sides.
Deeper batting resources packed up with power-hitters allow Mumbai to chase anything or put up big scores if they bat first. In a complete contrast, Hyderabad is a top heavy side with a dwindling middle-order which restricts their scoring opportunities. The contrast becomes more conspicuous on batting tracks which puts Hyderabad at a disadvantage.
In the current season, only Jonny Bairtsow (141.7) has a strike-rate in excess of 130 amongst Hyderabad batsmen with over 50 runs. Mumbai have three such batsmen - Kieron Pollard (171.4), Suryakumar yadav (144.2) and Krunal Pandya (131.6). Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya is waiting in the wings for his chance to shine again.
Not to forget, Pollard, the man who has constantly made the difference at the back end for Mumbai possesses a superb record against Hyderabad. His average of 46.4 against Hyderabad is his highest against a current IPL opposition and given SRH’s struggle with the bowl, he would be licking his lips to face them.
Too many changes?
Hyderabad have only four batsmen who have scored over 100 runs for them this season and one of them - David Warner - is not a part of the XI anymore. This itself tells you about the instability in their combination.
It is only halfway stage in the tournament and Hyderabad have already used 21 players, the most by any side.
Their ratio of 2.1 changes per game is the highest by them in a season.
Through no fault of his own, Mohammad Nabi does not vouch a spot in the XI. Hyderabad made an error by playing him in the last game, owing to four left-handers in Rajasthan’s line-up. However, there has been no grip for finger spinners in Delhi. Expecting that they must have learnt their lesson, we should see Jason Holder in action to bolster Hyderabad’s pace attack.
With Pollard providing crucial breakthroughs with the ball, Mumbai can ponder dropping James Neesham and Dhawal Kulkarni, for Ishan Kishan and Adam Milne.
SRH: Manish Pandey, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, Jason Holder, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed
MI: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Adam Milne, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult