Sunrisers’ pace duo threatens to derail Mumbai’s run

  • Kushal Phatarpekar, Hindustan Times, Visakhapatnam
  • Updated: May 08, 2016 13:46 IST
Mumbai Indians batsman Rohit Sharma has hit five half-centuries so far in this IPL season. (PTI file photo)

This IPL, Mumbai Indians have relied heavily on Rohit Sharma to provide the impetus in batting.

He has flourished despite the added weight of captaincy. Rohit has five half-centuries, including an unbeaten 85 against Rising Pune Supergiants in the previous game.

The team’s reliance is clear, with none of the other batsmen even coming close to his consistency. Three of the four times that he has failed to contribute with the bat, Mumbai have gone on to lose.

On Sunday though, Rohit will need to be on his toes as Mumbai play Sunrisers Hyderabad, whose bowling attack will be led by Mustafizur Rahman and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The duo’s partnership has been one of the highlights of the IPL so far.

Their effort with the ball has given depth to the Sunrisers’ bowling attack. Bhuvneshwar currently sits near the top of the wicket-taking charts with 12 scalps. Mustafizur, meanwhile, has the best economy rate so far.

Mustafizur has been one of the finds of the past 12 months. The Bangladesh pacer has been in fine form and has a penchant for leaving India batsmen in a spot.

The 20-year-old was the architect of India’s shock loss to Bangladesh in the ODIs last year. In each of those games, Mustafizur was the bowler to have Rohit’s scalp. In the World T20 as well, it was Mustafizur who picked the India batsman’s wicket.

Sunrisers Hyderabad's Deepak Hooda, Mustafizur Rahman (C) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar celebrate after a wicket. (AFP file photo)

Against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mustafizur was used intelligently and succeeded in claiming Virat Kohli.

It is likely coach Tom Moody will unleash Mustafizur against Rohit. His slow cutters and yorkers have made him a threat, and batsmen have struggled to find an answer to his bowling in the T20 format.

An in-form Rohit is essential for Mumbai if they wish to continue with the positive run in the competition. A win on Sunday could see them move to the fourth spot.

For Sunrisers, it is their pacers who will again come under the spotlight. Bhuvneshwar and Mustafizur were at their best on Friday, when their efforts had Gujarat Lions struggling for runs.

It will be interesting to see how Rohit & Co play against the Sunrisers’ pace battery that has got its combination right.

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