IPL 2022: Party spoiler Mumbai in way of Hyderabad's playoff hunt

The 54-run loss against Kolkata Knight Riders has dented Sunrisers' hopes of reaching the last four. But it could still sneak through with 14 points.

As a barometer of the Sunrisers Hyderabad team, captain Kane Williamson is pretty accurate. His batting woes mirror SRH's.   -  SPORTZPICS

Mumbai Indians has already ended the IPL 2022 playoff hopes of Chennai Super Kings and in its path next, at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday, is the beleaguered Sunrisers Hyderabad, which needs to win to stay alive. 

The 54-run loss against Kolkata Knight Riders has dented Sunrisers' hopes of reaching the last four. But it could still sneak through with 14 points. However, its poor NRR of -0.270 makes qualification an uphill task.

As a barometer of the Sunrisers Hyderabad team, captain Kane Williamson is pretty accurate. His batting woes mirror SRH's.

In IPL-15, SRH has the worst PowerPlay run rate (6.80). Williamson has scored 208 runs at a strike rate of 92.85 - the worst among batters with a minimum of 100 runs this season. But SRH continues to persist with the Williamson-Abhishek Sharma opening formula, despite having options in Rahul Tripathi and Aiden Markram.

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SRH head coach Tom Moody, after the last game, had reasoned that tweaking the middle order that had been doing well was not a good idea. While he may be right — SRH has the second-best run rate (8.58) between overs 7 and 16 — Williamson's PowerPlay strike rate of 76.38 is leaving the middle order batters with too much work to do. Instead, Williamson could bat at 3, where he averages 39.62 at a strike rate of 128.21 in IPL, and the in-form Tripathi can open.

In the bowling department, the return of T Natarajan and Washington Sundar is good news although the duo went for a combined 83 runs in eight overs and took just one wicket against KKR.

Mumbai Indians, too, has had to contend with top-order issues, but the emergence of Tilak Varma  - 368 runs in 12 innings - has been a silver lining. Varma along with all-rounder Hrithik Shokeen, playing his maiden IPL season, put MI on course for victory against CSK with a mature 48-run stand after the initial wobble.

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Tristan Stubbs was handed his IPL debut in the last game against CSK, with Kieron Pollard making way for the uncapped South African batter. Although Stubbs was out for a duck, MI is likely to persist with him with one eye on the future.

Jasprit Bumrah's return to wicket-taking ways in the latter half of the IPL has boosted MI further. Bumrah enjoys bowling at the Wankhede, where he has the third-highest number of wickets in IPL — 37 wickets in 34 matches at an economy rate of 7.72. His battle with SRH top-order could be decisive. 

While for the Sunrisers, it certainly is win-or-bust now, Mumbai will continue exploring its stable of talent to reinvigorate its title bid next season. 

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