Sixers eye top spot against winless Mumbai
October 22, 2012
Start time 1730 local (1530 GMT)
Sydney Sixers are the only side who have anything meaningful to gain from this match, as they will aim to remain atop Group A in order to face the weaker qualifier from the other group in the semi-final. They will also be after that extra boost of momentum, and will want their reputation as the form team of the tournament undiminished as they approach the knockouts.
The Sixers' bowling against Mumbai Indians' batting shapes up as a crucial factor to the outcome of the match. In three innings, only one Mumbai batsman has crossed 40, and they are now up against the best pace attack of the tournament - though a slightly weakened one as Shane Watson has returned to Australia. If they are to save face and return with at least one win to their name, their batting will likely have to produce their best performance of the tournament.
Watson's absence is a big loss to any team, but so comprehensive have the Sixers' victories been that they will be confident of completing a group-stage clean sweep nonetheless. Brad Haddin and Michael Lumb have played telling innings at the top of the order, and others lower down like Steven Smith and Moises Henriques have also made significant contributions.
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Lasith Malinga has copped plenty of flak back home for his performance in the World Twenty20 final, and unfairly, that has only intensified as he has been among the wickets for his IPL side. Like Sri Lanka, Mumbai rely on Malinga for wickets, and if he can make inroads into a Watson-less top order, he could help hide the remainder of the attack, who have not been particularly threatening.
Pat Cummins has impressed with his pace, but with Watson absent, he will have to also take more responsibility when it comes to taking wickets. He has at times been predictable towards the end of an innings, and if he can introduce a few more variations into his game, he will help fill that Watson-shaped void better.
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka