SRH vs MI IPL 2020 preview: Can Sunrisers avoid the knockout punch?

David Warner’s men need to beat table-topper Mumbai Indians in Sharjah on Tuesday to qualify for the playoffs. If they lose, Kolkata Knight Riders will be in.

Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner has single-handedly turned the tide for his team in IPL 2020.   -  FILE PHOTO/K.V.S. GIRI

The Indian Premier League 2020 has been a hard-fought affair. For the first time, three teams have exited the tournament with 12 points which makes the last encounter of the league stage a knockout fixture for Sunrisers Hyderabad. To qualify for the playoffs, they need to overcome Mumbai Indians in Sharjah on Tuesday.

 

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Sunrisers escalated their performance in the middle of the tournament despite injury threats. It needs to break the 12-point deadlock to catch up with Kolkata Knight Riders (14 points) and eventually, seal the playoffs spot on better net run rate [+0.555]; KKR’s net run rate reads -0.214.

If Sunrisers lose, Eoin Morgan's men will make the playoffs.

The build-up

Sunrisers had a remarkable turnaround after messing up the 127-run target against Kings XI Punjab last week. It brought in seasoned IPL campaigner Wriddhiman Saha as opener, a move that proved magical as the right-hander smashed a 45-ball 87 [against Delhi Capitals] and a 32-ball 39 against Royal Challengers Bangalore to guide his team home.

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England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow has been warming the bench for the past two games. With Saha among runs and Jason Holder impressing with both the bat and ball, it will be difficult for Bairstow to stage a return. Kane Williamson and Rashid Khan are certainly indispensable and the fourth foreigner is David Warner, the skipper.

On top of that, Holder is one wicket away from 100 T20 dismissals, and 20 runs away from 1,000 runs.

Sunrisers will rely on Rashid to cause the breakthroughts. The star leggie from Afghanistan has picked up eight wickets in seven games against Mumbai, conceding at 4.82 an over.

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Mumbai had a smooth transition of leadership from Rohit Sharma to Kieron Pollard as the former is nursing a hamstring injury. He is likely to sit out tonight’s game, too.  Under Pollard, Mumbai won three out of four games to move to the top of the table (18 points).

The key men

Before a game against Mumbai, every opposition has to prepare separately for Jasprit Bumrah. The express pacer picked up 23 wickets in 13 games and is only second to Kagiso Rabada in the Purple Cap race. But Sunrisers do have an antidote in Manish Pandey, who has a good record against the pacer — 50+ runs off 25 balls without being dismissed.

Jasprit Bumrah.   -  BCCI/IPL

 

Sunrisers can turn to Sandeep Sharma to tackle the Suryakumar Yadav threat in the middle-order. Sharma has dismissed the Mumbai Indians batsman six times in the IPL while conceding only 27 runs off 28 balls.

However, Mumbai can afford to rest a few key players to keep them fresh for the playoffs. It will be interesting to see if they decide to bring in Chris Lynn for Quinton de Kock and Dhawal Kulkarni for Bumrah.

Last encounter: Mumbai Indians 208/5 (Quinton de Kock 67 (39), Hardik Pandya 28 (19), Kieron Pollard 25 (13), Krunal Pandya 20 (4); Sandeep Sharma 2/41, Siddarth Kaul 2/64 beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 174/7 (David Warner 60 (44). J Bairstow 25 (15); Trent Boult 2/28, James Pattinson 2/29 and Jasprit Bumrah 2/41 by 34 runs

Head-to-head: 15 matches, MI:8 SRH: 7

Match facts

Match No 56

Sharjah Cricket Stadium

7.30 pm (IST)

Squads

Mumbai Indians (likely XI): Ishan Kishan (wk), Quinton de Kock/Chris Lynn, Suryakumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary, Kieron Pollard (c), Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jayant Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah/Dhawal Kulkarni

Sunrisers Hyderabad (likely XI) David Warner (c), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Jason Holder, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan