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Onus on Hyd batsmen
On the face of it, the engagement ahead is a battle between two unequal teams, not on overall qualitative front but psychologically speaking.Host...
On the face of it, the engagement ahead is a battle between two unequal teams, not on overall qualitative front but psychologically speaking.Host Sunrisers Hyderabad, after a surprising high, is coming off from two successive losses while Mumbai Indians are gradually asserting their collective might. The last ball thriller against Kings XI Punjab on Monday is an indication that they have the wherewithal to come good even in crunch situations.
On the points table, Mumbai is marginally ahead having garnered two additional points as against Hyderabad's ten from nine outings. This should be in the minds of the respective managements when they clash at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday in what is to be the only match here that is to commence at 4pm.
Ironically, it is the batting department that has come a cropper for Hyderabad in the sense that it has never jelled as a single entity. In a championship that is being increasingly dominated by bowlers, barring the odd sparkle by T20 specialist batsmen, the host team's trump card will be the attack.
The Dale Steyn-Ishant Sharma-Amit Mishra combination is working wonders for the first timer. But they will need more substantial contributions from Darren Sammy and Thisara Perera to make a match of it given the fact that Mumbai has in its ranks batsmen who can turn the tide from any stage.
If the battle against Royal Challengers Bangalore was a 'war' between Steyn and Chris Gayle (remember the Super over heroics) this time it will be a tossup between Lasith Malinga (the highest wicket-taker in IPL history with 89 scalps in the kitty) and Shikar Dhawan, whose return has bolstered the team prospects. Moreover, he was the only one who appeared to be in good nick in his first match of the sixth edition.
The home team will be hoping that frontline batsmen like Kumar Sangakkara, Cameron White, Perera and local boy G Hanuma Vihari will add to the team's cause and be as productive as Dhawan is likely to be.
The visitors have been on a song thanks to the cumulative efforts of almost everyone in the playing eleven, including Dhawal Kulkarni, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha, who accounted for two crucial dismissals against Punjab. Mitchell Johnson and Kieron Pollard could be key figures in the scheme of things.
Although the match is scheduled for the middle of the week, a sell-out May Day crowd is likely to descend at the stadium to perhaps catch a glimpse of Sachin Tendulkar, and hopefully Ricky Ponting, in what could be their farewell IPL appearances in Hyderabad.
Neelesh K Joshi