IPL 2019: Sunrisers Hyderabad test for confident Mumbai Indians

The in-form sides clash at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday night.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has bounced back well after having been profligate with the ball in the first two matches.   -  AP

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s resurgence after its setback in the first contest against Kolkata Knight Riders may be an ominous sign for Mumbai Indians, positioned sixth in the points table, when the two teams clash at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Saturday night.

Sunrisers has now won three matches in a row, including one against Delhi Capitals on Thursday, and is perched at the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) points table.

The fact that Kane Williamson’s absence — he is ‘resting’ his injured shoulder — isn’t being felt that badly at the top of the batting order is a tribute to the consistency of the explosive duo of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, who are clearly setting the tempo — in chasing down targets and in setting them.

However, there is still some cause for worry for Sunrisers. Despite all-rounder Vijay Shankar chipping in with useful contributions, the middle-order has stood exposed. Chasing 130 at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi on Thursday, there were moments of despair after the openers, who got the team off to a flying start, departed.

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The total was low enough for the side to wriggle out of the situation, but it will not have this liberty against sides which have the ability to seize on half-chances to turn the game around.

Potent bowling attack

The welcome news for the host is that stand-in captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been rediscovering his confidence in bowling. It is crucial to the attack, which profits from his variety, depth and quality. The pace duo of Sandeep Sharma and Siddarth Kaul back him, and the spin duo from Afghanistan — leg-spinner Rashid Khan and off-spinner Mohammad Nabi — prove to be a handful as well. Nabi is exceptional in the PowerPlay itself.

Mumbai Indians is high on confidence, too. It can look back on its win against Chennai Super Kings with pride as key players clicked when it mattered the most. It will be interesting to see how its bowling attack challenges the formidable Sunrisers batting line-up in familiar conditions.

With the bat, Mumbai Indians badly needs its star-studded line-up — comprising Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh and Kieron Pollard — to score big and set the platform the bowlers to do the job.