The thirty-first match of the IPL 2021 tournament between the blockbuster teams, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, could all be about match-ups. Here, we take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the thirty-first game of IPL 2021 – SRH vs MI.
With as many as nine of their games scheduled in Chennai and Delhi, Sunrisers Hyderabad were expected to qualify for the playoffs. Sure, their past consistent returns played a part in the thought process. But, nonetheless, better performances were expected from SRH.
Before the start of the season, the ‘Criclytics’ algorithm by cricket.com gave SRH a 59% chance for playoffs qualification, the third-highest among all sides. However, it has fallen to zero now!
While the pitches in Delhi have been good for batting, SRH struggled big time in Chennai, winning just one out of five matches. They chased in all games. While one match saw Super Over contest, some mistakes in other matches cost them valuable points.
Batting has been a big issue for them, they’ve good starts on almost all occasions but couldn’t capitalise. Some times, errors in deciding the correct batting order, slow batting in the middle-overs and poor shot selections didn’t help them. Poor auctions have also affected them but nothing can be done about it now.
Even David Warner has been dropped, and it reveals the panic in the SRH camp.
Bowling issues for SRH:
SRH haven’t been great with the ball either. With batting already not being up to the mark, their bowling has failed to compensate for it. They were just on par in Chennai but have been terrible in Delhi.
Their pacers have been disappointing, especially in the powerplay. Wickets upfront are quite crucial, and more so for teams with weak death-overs bowling. Sandeep Sharma came good in 2020 but not this time around while Bhuvneshwar Kumar again had some fitness issues.
T Natarajan’s absence is a big blow for SRH. But, SRH are responsible for consistently not upgrading their pace attack. Vijay Shankar bowled 17th and 20th over in the last match; nothing more can sum up SRH’s bowling woes.
SRH’s reliance on Rashid Khan to deliver the goods is regularly rising. They are expecting him to ‘carry’ the whole bowling attack as Warner carried their batting for many seasons.
In 2021, the difference between the bowling average & strike rate of other SRH bowlers and Rashid has risen to an all-time high — 19.8 and 8.62 respectively.
Rashid’s ever-improving returns is indeed a factor, however, the other SRH bowlers are on a consistent downfall. While other SRH bowlers averaged under 25 in 2017, they are averaging 37 this season.
SRH should hope for some damage by Bhuvi in the powerplay. By bowling Rashid Khan in the powerplay in the last match, SRH showed their hunger for early scalps.
SRH vs MI: What can SRH do against Mumbai Indians?
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has good head-to-head numbers against MI openers, particularly against Rohit. The right-arm pacer should look to trouble them with inswingers and outswingers. It will at least bring down their scoring rates and a wicket is also a big possibility.
Mohammed Nabi can partner Bhuvi with the new ball. Quinton de Kock struggles against spinners and Nabi is a good counter for him. Nabi also has good numbers in the powerplay and he can keep it tight.
Rohit Sharma doesn’t have good numbers against spinners in the powerplay, however, he has looked to attack spinners in the powerplay in the last one year or so. Hence, that’s a counter-attack from MI perspective.
Jason Holder is also a decent option, in case Sandeep Sharma is dropped and Nabi misses out. Holder is a good powerplay bowler, especially in the first three overs. His numbers in this phase since 2019 are quite good. With swing and using angles, Holder can be quite handy.
SRH’s death bowling also looks poor, hence, Holder might not be a bad option overall. Holder isn’t a great T20 bowler, more so in the death overs. However, in the end, it boils down to SRH’s other options and their combination. Holder displayed some improvement in his death overs bowling last season.
In the middle-overs, Rashid Khan is an easy counter-attack for all batters. There isn’t much need to discuss it. Rashid is great and most MI batters struggle against quick wrist-spin bowling and googlies.
Suryakumar Yadav is a good player of spin-bowling but Rashid can get him out. With well-disguised googlies and top-class bowling, SKY won’t have it easy. Ishan Kishan is unlikely to play and anyway he has seldom looked home against quick wrist-spin bowling.
Kieron Pollard is good a player of traditional leg-spin bowling but Rashid isn’t traditional.
SRH should look to maximise the damage in the powerplay and middle-overs because MI batters can be very destructive in the slog pacers as SRH don’t have even one express pacer.
NOTE: All stats are updated till 02 May 2021.