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IPL 10, Match 48: Hyderabad v Mumbai

Wisden India logo Wisden India 08-05-2017 Wisden India staff
© AFP

The pressure will be on Sunrisers Hyderabad when they host Mumbai Indians in the 48th match of the Indian Premier League 2017 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal on Monday (May 8).

The tournament has reached the business end, where teams are scampering for a berth in the top four. While Mumbai are sitting pretty at top of the table with nine wins from 11 games, becoming the first and so far only team to seal a playoff spot, Hyderabad are delicately placed at No. 4 with six wins from 12 games - a spot they could easily lose to Kings XI Punjab or even Delhi Daredevils.

An interesting knock-on effect of this match could be the elimination of Delhi. For that to happen though, Kolkata Knight Riders will need to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, and Hyderabad will need to defeat Mumbai. So by effectively doing their part and winning, Hyderabad could have one contender less to worry about.

But to do that, they have to go back to their winning ways. While Hyderabad started the tournament on a positive note, winning four out of their first six matches, they have failed to capitalise on the strong start.

What will worry the hosts is that they have lost their previous two encounters - against Delhi and Rising Pune Supergiant respectively. Overturning their fortunes against a rampant Mumbai, who have been undefeated by all teams barring Pune this season, seems a rather daunting task.

Against Delhi, it was Hyderabad's bowling that let the side down, letting the opposition chase 186 with relative ease. Against Pune the batting faltered, falling 12 runs short in a chase of 149. Requiring 13 in the final over,  they not only were at the receiving end of a Jaydev Unadkat hat-trick, but also failed to score a single run in the over. The manner of the defeat will have dented their confidence to some degree.

However, aside from a slightly inconsistent middle-order, the defending champions actually look a very well-rounded unit. David Warner, the captain, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, respectively, are topping the leading run-getters’ and wicket-takers’ charts quite comfortably. It has been a case of the team not pulling together often enough.

Mumbai, on the other hand, have not had individual standout performers, but have clicked as a team. Nitish Rana, the top run-getter for the side this season, is 12th on the overall list. With 16 wickets from 11 games, Mitchell McClenaghan has the most wickets for Mumbai this season, and is fourth on the overall list. The fact that Mumbai are still comfortably ahead of anyone else on the table is testament to how they have clicked as a unit.

One area Hyderabad would like to correct heading into this game and the rest of the tournament, depending how much longer their campaign goes, is their lower-middle order batting. Where Mumbai have people like Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard who take the responsibilty if the top-order fails, Hyderabad have sometimes seemed overtly reliant on the majority of the scoring coming from the men up top. Yuvraj Singh, who has shown glimpses of brilliance this season, will be key in that area alongside Moises Henriques.

When the teams met in Mumbai earlier this season, it was again the fragile Hyderabad middle-order that let their side down. After cruising at 105 for 1 in 13 overs, they were contained to 158 for 8 in 20 overs, which Mumbai chased down with four wickets and eight balls to spare.

Going by team strength, there is little to choose from between the two sides, but factors like momentum and confidence point in Mumbai's favour. The urgency of the situation, however, might just spur Hyderabad to play to their potential in a bid to fortify their position in the top four. For Mumbai it presents an opportunity to strengthen their hold and ensure a top-two berth.

Head-to-head record:

Played 9. Mumbai 5. Hyderabad 4.

Head-to-head at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium:

Played 4. Mumbai 2. Hyderabad 2.

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