They are among the most prominent faces of Mumbai Indians. They are proven match-winners. While the batsman heads the batting charts of Mumbai Indians’ run-getters, the bowler leads the overall list of highest wicket-takers in the Indian Premier League (IPL). No wonder then that as Rohit Sharma and Lasith Malinga are set to feature in their 100th IPL game for the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday evening, the home team would be hoping for both the stars to stage a match-winning performance against defending champion Sunrisers Hyderabad.
While Malinga has played all of his 99 IPL games for the most expensive of the eight original teams, Sharma has been an MI pillar ever since he moved to his home franchise from Deccan Chargers in 2011. Interestingly, neither of them has had a lasting impact in the early stages of the tenth edition.
Sharma, who has skippered Mumbai Indians to both its IPL triumphs in 2013 and 2015, hasn’t played an impact innings ever since returning from a prolonged injury lay-off owing to a thigh injury he suffered while playing for India last October. In two games in this edition, he has tallied a meagre return of five runs, although he was a victim of an umpiring error at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday night.
Malinga, on the other hand, fared reasonably well in his maiden outing of the season against Kolkata Knight Riders. Having missed MI’s season-opener due to national duties, Malinga appeared to be a little bit rusty as he returned with figures of two for 36 off his four overs.
However, the fact that both the match-winners are due for a big one augurs well against the home team going into an on-song team like Sunrisers Hyderabad. David Warner and Co. has literally started the season from where they had left last year, putting in near-perfect performances in their first two games.
If the Sunrisers Hyderabad is to win its first game at the Wankhede, it got a perfect boost in addition to a well-oiled unit that has delivered so far. Bangladesh left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman joined the squad on Tuesday evening. He is all but sure to come in for Australia's Ben Cutting, thus completing a potent Sunrisers unit.
Barring that, the Sunrisers are unlikely to make any change to their line-up. Each one of the left-handed triumvirate of captain Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh has already made a telling contribution with the willow. All-rounder Moises Henriques has had an impact in both the departments. And the Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan has emerged as the surprise pick of the bowling lot, which includes reliable pacers Ashish Nehra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
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