Mumbai, April 24: Struggling to stay afloat following their fifth defeat in six outings, former champions Mumbai Indians clash with a resurgent Sunrisers Hyderabad in a crucial Indian Premier League game at the Wankhede Stadium here tomorrow.
MI seemed to have found their moorings after outclassing Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 19 in Bengaluru to end their dismal four-defeat streak. ('Pollard should have been banned')
But it appears to have been a false dawn considering the manner in which they were dumped to a 37-run defeat by Delhi Daredevils, who thus snapped their nine-match losing streak at home last night. (42 records of birthday Sachin Tendulkar)
A lot of work, in re-jigging of personnel and strategy, remains for bottom-of-the-table MI before they confront the Sunrisers, who have gathered themselves from a stuttering start to occupy the fifth position.
Captain Rohit Sharma had justified the chopping and changing of the playing XI in the matches gone by, but MI have failed to come up with the right answers.
R Vinay Kumar and Pawan Suyal, who opened the bowling in MI's first home game against Kings XI Punjab on April 12, were left out of yesterday's game at the Ferozshah Kotla.
One of them, at least, appears to have earned the right to bounce back after the dismal show put up against the Devils by Jasprit Singh Bumrah, who was preferred ahead of Karnataka's victorious Ranji captain Vinay, and his teammate Abhimanyu Mithun, who is yet to play a game.
Gloomy bowling scenario
The bright spot for MI in an otherwise gloomy bowling scenario has been the generally good show put up by their key men Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh - after a dismal start against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders on April 8.
It's in finding the other bowlers to share the work load that MI, looking for their first win at home this season after making it their fortress last year, have yet to get it right. There are issues with the seam attack after the pull-out of Australia's Josh Hazlewood.
New Zealander Mitchell McClenaghan, who has been given the all-rounder's spot off late in place of compatriot Corey Anderson because of his superior bowling abilities, has impressed only in patches.
The batting looks in better shape with Rohit leading the charge, but could also look to improve instead of relying mostly on one man in big run-chases.
The visitors too, have not exactly set the league on fire and have issues over their batting, in which openers Shikhar Dhawan and captain David Warner have been the stand-out performers.
Dhawan and Warner have put on two half-century partnerships and a century stand in the games that they won or nearly won (against Daredevils).
The duo though has not been supported enough by the middle order where Ravi Bopara, Kane Williamson, Ashish Reddy, Lokesh Rahul and Naman Ojha have been patchy, at best.
The Sunrisers have a potent bowling attack, even though South Africa's pace spearhead Dale Steyn, who replaced New Zealand left-armer Trent Boult in the last two games, is yet to fire on all cylinders.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and his senior UP colleague Praveen Kumar have also been just about adequate up front, but both frontline spinners Karn Sharma and Parvez Rasool have struggled for wickets so far.
They have only newly-inducted left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma (in place of Laxmi Ratan Shukla) as the other viable option in their squad to utilise a wicket that generally offers extra bounce and turn.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ambati Rayudu, Abhimanyu Mithun, Aditya Tare, Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Marchant de Lange, Pawan Suyal, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, Pragyan Ojha, Mitchell McClenaghan, Aiden Blizzard, Akshay Wakhare, Nitish Rana, Sidhesh Lad, Hardik Pandya, Jagadeesha Suchitch, Unmukt Chand, Colin Munro and R Vinay Kumar.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Naman Ojha (wicketkeeper), Kane Williamson, Dale Steyn, Moises Henriques, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Trent Boult, Parveez Rasool, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Reddy, Ricky Bhui, Chama Milind, Praveen Kumar, Hanuma Vihari, Prasanth Padmanabhan, Siddarth Kaul. Bipul Sharma.
Match starts 4 PM IST
Also playing tomorrow at 8 PM - CSK Vs KXIP in Chennai (Match Preview)