IPL 2018: Sunrisers Hyderabad look to pin down struggling Mumbai Indians | cricket | Hindustan Times
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IPL 2018: Sunrisers Hyderabad look to pin down struggling Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians will be hosting Sunrisers Hyderabad in an important IPL 2018 clash at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. SRH’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar to miss game due to injury, Shikhar Dhawan’s return depends on fitness test

cricket Updated: Apr 23, 2018 22:01 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2018,Sunrisers Hyderabad,Mumbai Indians
Sunrisers Hyderabad, who face Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, have won three of their five IPL 2018 games yet.(AP)

Four last-over defeats for Mumbai Indians have left them hurting and it is turning out to be a frustrating season for the defending champions as they have failed to find the finishing touch.

They have less than 48 hours to recover from the heartbreaking loss to Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, and it will be a test of their resilience as they look to buck the trend against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday.

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Facing Sunrisers is bound to open up a few old wounds. Like Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers had inflicted a similar blow by snatching a last-ball win in Hyderabad in their first-leg clash around 12 days ago.

Mumbai Indians’ problem of losing close matches is graver than it appears as the culprits are their established players. On Sunday, Surya Kumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan had set up the perfect platform for Mumbai Indians final assault, but skipper Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard all flopped.

On 129/1 after 14 overs and with Rohit, Pollard and the Pandya brothers to follow, 200 was definitely on the cards. But to restrict Mumbai to 167 was job half done for Rajasthan. Mumbai lost six wickets for 39 runs scoring at 6.5 runs per over in the last six overs and that is where they lost the plot.

On Tuesday, Sunrisers bowling is tipped to ask more questions than Rajasthan did. Even though Mumbai are back home at the Wankhede Stadium, in Siddarth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan, Sunrisers have the arsenal to test any batting line-up on any surface.

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Sunrisers’ will miss the services of spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar due to injury, informed skipper Kane Williamson. Bhuvneshwar was not able to complete his full quota of overs in Sunday’s game due to back spasms and has not travelled to Mumbai with the team. Adding to the injury update, the SRH skipper said in-form Shikhar Dhawan’s return to the side depended on the fitness test conducted on Monday evening at the Wankhede.

MI’S WOES

Mumbai’s game plan has gone awry. Yadav, Kishan and leg-spinner Mayank Markande were to be the support cast but have been left to play central roles. Keiron Pollard’s job is to hit the big ones in the last two-three overs. But he is yet to find his touch. Against Rajasthan, he looked clueless in the last over, managing 21 off 20 balls. In five games, he has 54 runs at a strike rate of 105.88. It pales in comparison to his IPL’s average strike-rate of over-145.

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Sunrisers themselves are coming into the game after a loss at home. Their second defeat in five games has seen them slip to fourth. In batting, they seem to be too reliant on their top-order, mainly Dhawan and skipper Williamson. The two were instrumental in Sunrisers all three wins. Dhawan led the chase against Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. Against KKR, Williamson guided the team home and has been the main man since Dhawan got injured during the Kings XI Punjab game.

The pressure will be on Mumbai on Tuesday. Placed seventh after five games, time is running out for them.

First Published: Apr 23, 2018 17:56 IST