The Mumbai Indians and the Sunrisers Hyderabad go head to head in the IPL this Wednesday!The champions of 2013 and 2015 clash with the current title holders, as the 10th edition of India's global Twenty20 showpiece enters an intriguing second week.
Mumbai weren't entirely convincing in victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders recently - and must oblige captain Rohit Sharma's demand for better. The dominant Sunrisers, meanwhile, will play away from home for the first time this season.
MI vs SRH | Wednesday, 12 April 2017 | Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai | 16:30
To Win Match
Mumbai Indians 9/10 | Tie 35/1 | Sunrisers Hyderabad 9/10
The mistakes endured against the Rising Pune Supergiant were somewhat rectified against the Knight Riders, but Wednesday's hosts will require a complete performance in order to outdo the reigning champions. This could be necessitated by Australian Mitchell Johnson replacing fellow left-arm fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan, who was very costly against Kolkata and Pune. The New Zealander's belligerent lines and lengths are not proving effective in sub-continental conditions.
Alternatively, the seasoned Tim Southee could be drafted back into the XI. Batsman Ambati Rayudu definitely won't play due to a groin injury, leaving greater responsibility on the shoulders of West Indian Kieron Pollard and the homegrown Hardik Pandya in particular. Sharma, meanwhile, will contemplate opening the batting ahead of the hard-hitting Jos Butler - and instead have the Englishman beef up the middle order.
As always, the individual and collective roles of the slow bowlers will be key. The veteran Harbhajan Singh, who possesses some impressive statistics against overly attacking batsmen will face a staunch challenge against the inventive David Warner. The usual threat posed by turning the ball away from the left-hander could be successfully combated by Warner's penchant for manipulating the field placements and bowler's strategy via deft reverse sweeps.
Removed from the comforts of the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, the Sunrisers must travel to the Wankhede Stadium, where their understanding of conditions is substantially less. Last week's fixture at the Wankhede Stadium yielded a very testing time for the visiting seamers - and the addition of another slow bowler, perhaps leg-spinner Pravin Tambe instead of the struggling Ashish Nehra - wouldn't be an untoward selection.
Warner's use of Afghanistan's Rashid Khan has been superb. Not afraid to deploy Khan during the six-over opening Powerplay and meticulous in balancing attacking and defensive field placements, Warner has really afforded the 18-year-old the opportunity to express his plentiful talent on this world stage. One poor performance, though, could easily dent the impressionable youngster's confidence - and Warner needs to be equally careful in managing this.
The Sunriser's Aussie skipper's heroics at the top of the knock aside, Hyderabad's middle order was tipped as a probable weakness prior to the start of the tournament. All-rounder Moises Henriques has gone a long way in negating this threat on the back of consecutive half-centuries. Adequate support from fellow Australian Ben Cutting - and Indians Yuvraj Singh and Deepak Hoonda - has duly followed. This collective subscription, rather than an over reliance on Warner, will be required against Mumbai.
Verdict: Sunrisers Hyderabad 9/10
Hyderabad beat Mumbai twice en route to the title last year and, while their eventual first defeat of the 2017 season is a probability more than a possibility, it won't happen against Sharma and company this week.