For different reasons, Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad find themselves in the same position. One has been rendered rudderless due to the absence of two key middle-order batsmen, Yuvraj Singh and Kane Williamson, the other hasn’t had the middle order firing as expected. The onus therefore is on the teams’ top order to get them out of trouble.
Hyderabad seem more hamstrung with their injury problems but captain David Warner saw this as an opportunity for their top four to weigh in together.
“You are not going to get the depth as you like. You have to use your resources smartly, which is challenging. It is about getting our top four to bat through 10 overs,” said Warner ahead of the match. “Top four is where the bulk of the runs come and I guarantee that No 5, 6 and 7 will do their job very well. We have to work on how we are going to get our balance right,” he said.
It’s still early days in the league but both teams need some momentum going their way. They need to identify the four who are most capable of contributing at the top. Mumbai Indians’ first and third games have showed that if Rohit Sharma doesn’t fire, they implode quickly. It also might have to do with the fact that Mumbai look more assured while chasing.
On both occasions, Hardik Pandya came at No 3, which should ideally be occupied by the next-best batsman after Rohit. In those two innings, Pandya scored nine off 11 balls and two off six balls. In the context of setting a target, slow scoring snaps the rhythm of any team. Both Jos Buttler and Ambati Rayudu are more experienced in this format to come in at that position.
Similarly, Eoin Morgan could be given a promotion to No 3 ahead of Moises Henriques, followed by Naman Ojha. The England limited-overs captain has had a good run in this format and Hyderabad could gain from his solidity provided Shikhar Dhawan and Warner give them a good start.
The results have been disappointing but Warner thinks this could be the match they can turn it around. “They are going to be hungry as well because they are in a same position as us. We have to be switched on and make sure we keep executing our plans. We can’t keep talking about it. We have to do it on the day,” he said.