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After having tasted a bitter defeat in their opening game against the Chennai Super Kings in the season opener of the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League, Mumbai Indians are now up against the Kane Williamson led Sunrisers Hyderabad; who had a near-perfect game in their first match against the Rajasthan Royals. In Match 1 CSK, riding on some last moment heroics from Dwayne Bravo; snatched victory from MI’s jaws and beat them by one-wicket. SRH, on the other hand, had a good outing with both and ball as they won by 9-wickets.
At Wankhede however, Mumbai Indians were in control of the match for a greater part of the game; having reduced CSK to 118/8 in the 17th over, with 48 required off 21. It was then that Dwayne Bravo’s innings really took off, smashing 20 runs in the next two overs of Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah. Young Mayank Markande led the attack taking three wickets for just 23 runs off his quota of 4 overs. But the problem for MI was the inconsistency in their lengths at the death overs with the likes of Mustafizur Rahman and Bumrah being tonked for sixes. The batting department, however, looks pretty strong, with the middle order resting on the responsible shoulders of youngsters Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, the Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard. Hardik Pandya’s fitness might just be a concern for the management after the all-rounder limped off the field in the first innings, but came back strongly to pick 3 wickets for just 24 runs. The challenge for Mumbai, however, will be against the variety in the bowling lineup of SRH.
The pace department led by the ever-so-accurate Bhuvneshwar Kumar includes the pace and bounce of the 6’8”tall Billy Stanlake and the guile of Siddarth Kaul, who for me, was the man of the match in the last game, returning with figures of 2/17 in 4 overs. Supporting the fast bowlers, is the craftiness of Rashid Khan blended with the experience of Shakib Al-Hasan. The bowlers had an excellent day in the field restricting Rajasthan to a below par total of 125 for the loss of 9 wickets. Complementing this performance was SRH’s exceptional fielding who saved at least 10-15 runs; led by Captain Williamson who first ran out D’Arcy Short and then took an excellent catch of Ben Stokes. SRH chased down the target in the 16th over with 9 wickets in hand, as Shikhar Dhawan scored a breezy 78 and the skipper chipping in with a 36 not out. The only casualty being opener Wriddhiman Saha, who perished in an attempt to score some quick runs. Going into the match, SRH will look to continue the momentum and collect some important points in the early leg of the tournament.
On the eve of the match, Mumbai underwent two training sessions leading into the clash, one in the afternoon and one under lights. Sunrisers’ batsmen spent some time in the nets, while the bowlers were involved in grueling drills of fielding and catching practice throughout the evening.