Sunrisers aim to stick with the pack
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Start time 1600 IST (1030 GMT)
The scramble to finish in the top four is getting intense as the league moves into the second half. While Chennai Super Kings have floated to the top and two teams with inertia working against them have settled at the bottom, others are still moving up and down randomly in Brownian motion. Sunrisers Hyderabad were at the top a week ago, but after two away losses they have descended to No. 5. They have a chance to catch the updraught again when they face a strong Mumbai Indians team at their home venue.
Most teams this year have thrived in home conditions and Sunrisers are no different - they have won three out of three in Hyderabad on the back of some inspiring spells by their all-round bowling unit even after repeated batting collapses. With the inclusion of Shikhar Dhawan and Darren Sammy, the line-up appears - at least on paper - a bit spunkier. If they can find a way to extend the aggression shown by their bowlers to their batting - and fielding - they can continue springing surprises. The only problem that remains to be solved is their constant juggling of the captaincy.
Mumbai Indians' home record is immaculate, but playing away, they have blown hot and cold. Their batting was dismal in Jaipur and their bowlers appeared listless in Delhi. However, they seem to have bumped into the right formula under the new leadership of Rohit Sharma and have won three consecutive matches, although that has neatly covered up the lack of form of their 40-year-old opener. Can they pull up a similar act without the Mumbai crowd behind them?
Form guide(most recent first)
Sunrisers Hyderabad LLWWL
Mumbai Indians WWWLL
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Sunrisers' rickety batting line-up was overly dependent on Thisara Perera for the big hits, but in Darren Sammy, they now have another player who can clear the boundaries with ease, can play the defensive role, be a decent bowler and an athletic fielder. His half-century against Rajasthan Royals gave Sunrisers a chance to fight and showed his value in the team. For what it's worth, he is also from West Indies, the players from where have played a number of starring roles this season already.
Rohit Sharma is probably the best striker of the ball in India behind MS Dhoni. But he is not the usual murderer of the cricket ball; he takes his time and then makes it up later with hits that are easy to the eye and brutal on the bowler's psyche. Some of his sixes this season have landed deep into the stands; one off a full toss off David Hussey ended up in the top tier at Wankhede on Monday night. Dale Steyn's bowling was dented by Dhoni the other day in Chennai. Can Rohit do the same against the best fast bowler in the world?
Stats and trivia
- Thisara Perera is the leading run-scorer for Sunrisers Hyderabad this season with 144 runs, but he sits on No. 28 in the batting charts
- Rohit Sharma has smashed 23 sixes this season - 10 more than the third-placed Eoin Morgan. Chris Gayle is on the top of the list with 36.
- 130 by Royal Challengers Bangalore is the highest total achieved by a visiting team in Hyderabad this season
"As we have seen in the past and we will probably see in the future, teams like Mumbai are not unbeatable."
Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody is not intimidated by the opposition
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo