IPL 2021 is still at a stage where most teams are yet to figure out their best combinations, their best tactics and even their best personnel. Amidst all the infancy chaos, the tracks in Chepauk, and the inability of the teams to close out easy run-chases in the last two games here, have thrown another challenge for the captains at toss – to chase or not to chase.
The innings of Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad that went off-track almost makes Royal Challengers Bangalore’s run-chase in the tournament opener a distant memory. That they managed to pull off a victory courtesy AB de Villiers’ brilliance is another point, but that Mumbai Indians had stretched even that game to the last ball is an added reminder that the conundrum of ‘dew v slowing pitch’ will play on.
Shane Bond, Mumbai Indians’ bowling coach, believes there is ample experience in his team’s bowling attack to deal with either challenge. However, the issue is elsewhere.
Mumbai Indians’ bowlers have done well – in both victory and defeat – to take their team as far as they reached, especially the spinners who led the way in the win against KKR. The concern though lies in their batting department, which barring Suryakumar Yadav’s fluency, has struggled to come to terms with the [lack of] pace of the wicket.
For Sunrisers Hyderabad, the script hasn’t changed a lot. The bowlers were economical and threatening, and with the bat David Warner provided another strong start, but the middle order’s lack of runs and pace is yet to be fixed.
As Bond suggested, on Thursday, much like his own team, even Sunrisers Hyderabad would be concerned about solving this mystery for the batters after the 10-over mark. None of the Indians, including international players like Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar, have yet provided ample assurance, thus leaving the team with the pressure of somehow fitting in Kane Williamson to solve the struggle.
When: Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, April 17, 2021, Saturday, 19:30 IST
Where: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
What to expect: Even though the scores in Chennai have been around a similar range, the pitches they have played on, have been drastically different. What is unlikely to change though are the two critical aspects of the game – dew and the slowing nature of the pitch despite unseasonal rain in the city.
Head to head: MI 8 – 8 SRH
Injured/Unavailable: All the players are out of quarantine and available for selection.
Tactics & Matchups: Sunrisers Hyderabad have struggled to close out chases in the recent past, and against Mumbai Indians’ bowling attack, it’s only set to get tougher. However, Manish Pandey, who is struggling to score quickly has previously dominated against Jasprit Bumrah (52 runs in 25 balls – without ever getting dismissed)
Probable XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieran Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Marco Jansen, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Injured/Unavailable: All players are available for selection
Tactics & matchups:Rashid Khan may be saved for the death overs given his record against Kieron Pollard (23 runs in 34 balls) and Hardik Pandya (18 in 33) has managed to trouble.
Probable XI: David Warner (c), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan