Sunrisers in do-or-die mode: win against Mumbai assures them playoff spot
Last chance for Mumbai to experiment before the playoffs
After the Sunrisers Hyderabad botched a chase of 127 against the Kings XI Punjab in Dubai, they had to topple the top-three teams to make the playoffs. Having seen off the Delhi Capitals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore, David Warner's men now run into the table-topping Mumbai Indians in the last league fixture of IPL 2020 on Tuesday in Sharjah. If they win, they go to the playoffs on net run-rate. If they lose, they go home.
Having already lost Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mitchell Marsh to injuries, the Sunrisers are sweating on allrounder Vijay Shankar's fitness. Shankar was sidelined from the game against the Royal Challengers after hurting his hamstring while bowling against the Capitals. Left-arm spin-bowling allrounder Abhishek Sharma replaced him on Saturday, but wasn't needed with the ball.
Wriddhiman Saha has come good at the top and that has also allowed his captain Warner to go back to his "old school" ways of clearing his front leg and hitting out in the powerplay. A fit-again Kane Williamson and Jason Holder have papered over the cracks in the middle order, but Rashid Khan's spell could well be the game-changer.
As for Mumbai, this is another chance for them to rest Hardik Pandya, who has been troubled by back issues in the recent past, and other key players, ahead of the first qualifier.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Ishan Kishan (wk), 2 Quinton de Kock/Chris Lynn, 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Saurabh Tiwary, 5 Kieron Pollard (capt), 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 8 Jayant Yadav, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult/Mitchell McClenaghan, 11 Jasprit Bumrah/Dhawal Kulkarni
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Abdul Samad, 6 Abhishek Sharma, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Shahbaz Nadeem/Khaleel Ahmed, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 T Natarajan
A fifty from Quinton de Kock coupled with big-hitting from Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers propelled Mumbai to 208 for 5 at this venue. In reply, Warner struck a fifty of his own, but the rest of the batting line-up fell away as the Sunrisers lost by 34 runs.
Sandeep Sharma has had the wood over Suryakumar Yadav, removing him three times in six innings while giving up only 27 runs off 28 balls. If the Sunrisers find a way past the openers early, Sharma could get another proper crack at Yadav.
If Bumrah continues to play, the Sunrisers could use Manish Pandey as a floater to tackle him. Pandey has hit Bumrah for 52 runs off 25 balls without being dismissed in the IPL.
Stats that matter
The last five games at Sharjah have been won by the chasing teams.
Pandey seems to relish playing against Mumbai. He has scored 578 runs, including five fifty-plus scores, against them, his most against an IPL opposition.
Rashid has picked up eight wickets in seven games against Mumbai, conceding at 4.82 an over - his second-best economy rate against an IPL opposition. Against the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant, he had an economy rate of 4.37 although the sample size is limited to a mere two matches.
Holder is one strike away from 100 wickets in T20s. He's also 20 runs away from 1000 T20 runs.
Kishan has hit 24 sixes in 10 innings this IPL. Only Nicholas Pooran (25) and Sanju Samson (26) have struck more sixes than him, but their teams have now been knocked out of the tournament.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo