Sunrisers Hyderabad v Mumbai Indians
Friday October 8, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports Cricket
SRH win again at last
There was a certain irony about SRH's win on Wednesday. The irony being that they did exactly what they've been doing all season. They posted what was just about a par score, or even a few runs below that, and made a good fist of defending it. It just so happened that on this occasion, unlike so many others, they actually pulled it off.
In truth, it was more RCB who made a mess of things than anything else. It was a very gettable target and any side boasting Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers (to name but three), should have got them home, especially after Maxwell's 40 off 25. Then there was Devdutt Padikkal playing the RCB villain with a painstaking 41 of 52, which involved running out the said Maxwell.
But all that is for RCB to worry about. The SRH batting wasn't great on the day, but the Sunrisers must be wondering where the disciplined bowling from the likes of Bhuvi Kumar and Siddarth Kaul has been all season. Or the ability to handle pressure like they did in those last few overs in the field.
But the best thing to have come from the game for them was Umran Malik, a 21-year old tyro playing only his third T20 match. They'll be wanting plenty from him next season.
Likely Mumbai XI Roy, Sharma, Williamson, Garg, Samad, Saha, Holder, Khan, Kumar, Kaul, Malik.
Mumbai drinking in last-chance saloon
Their last match couldn't have gone better. They beat the Royals to make sure the first-ever IPL champions wouldn't be making the Playoffs and in chasing Rajasthan's paltry score of 90 in just over 8 overs, they improved their net run rate as much as was possible.
But it's not as simple as winning this match to qualify for the Playoffs. KKR have a better net run rate than them at the time of writing so in addition to winning the game, they'll have to keep an eye on that net run rate, which means they'd rather chase and try to get the job over as quickly as possible.
The last match saw them drop the out-of-form Quinton de Kock for all-rounder Jimmy Neesham. The Kiwi had a great day with the ball, taking 3-12. It just so happened that Nathan Coulter-Nile had an even better one, taking 4-14 to get his hands on the man of the match award.
They're likely to play the same XI, unless they feel they need de Kock back to make light work of a small chase. Mind you, Ishan Kishan smashed 50 off 25 as an opener.
Likely Mumbai XI Sharma, Kishan, Yadav, Pandya, Tiwary, Pollard, Neesham, Coulter-Nile, Yadav, Bumrah, Boult.>
The last two games at Abu Dhabi saw the Royals chasing that big CSK total of 190 with plenty to spare and then the Punjab Kings also make light work of CSK's total on Thursday.
So, the first thing we know is that CSK don't like it at Abu Dhabi. The second is that a par score is hard to work out. And the third is that chasing seems the way to go.
Go with 'relaxed' Sunrisers
So, Mumbai desperately need to win and SRH are playing for nothing. Let's pile into the side who are up for it and for whom the game means something, right?
Maybe not. SRH didn't drastically improve overnight but there were some areas where they looked better. The pace of Malik, the decision to open with Sharma over W Saha (even though he didn't get many) and a much-improved bowling performance all round.
It's Mumbai who are under all the pressure here, whereas SRH will be more relaxed about the whole thing, while also wanting to put on a good show for their final game of the season.
Mumbai have been up and down all season and it wasn't one disastrous performance with the bat by the Royals that's going to convince me that their bowling is all of a sudden much better.
And here's another thought. What if SRH bat first and post something decent like 170? Mumbai may be looking to be too aggressive with that run rate in mind and implode.
Whichever way you look at it, the 2.77/4 on SRH is just that little bit too big.
Neesham can go well again
A career record of 147 wickets in 165 matches tells you that Neesham averages less than a wicket a game.
Based on that, he's unlikely to win this heat when the likes of Jasprit Bumrah averages 1.3 wickets per four overs bowled. Or a strike rate of 18 if you prefer.
But then again, Bumrah is 5/2 and Neesham is 11/2. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Neesham is given his full four overs to bowl after the damage he did the other day and the fact they don't always give Kieron Pollard a bowl.
At the odds, it's worth chancing.
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