(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The first week of the tournament has been hugely disappointing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Two defeats in two matches both of which could have been won does not reflect well on the team's tactics or determination.
On Saturday, the Sunrisers play defending champions Mumbai Indians, a daunting task to get their first points in this tournament.
Against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the first match, Hyderabad at least made a fist of a stiff run chase (188 was the target), falling 10 runs short despite losing openers David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha cheaply.
But in the next game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, it was an ignominious collapse from 96-1 to 143 for nine, chasing 150.
A brittle batting line-up seems to be at the core of Hyderabad's problems. They are heavily dependent on three batsmen David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey for runs, which means at least two of the three must score big for the team to win. That hasn't happened so far.
Warner made a blistering half-century against the RCB, Bairstow had a decent outing against the KKR, and while Pandey made runs in both matches, he's taken some flak for his failure to take the team to victory.
In fact, some former players and commentators are of the view that Pandey should make way for some other batsman.
Where can SRH look for batting sustenance? The squad is rich with talent, but finding the best combination has become a vexing issue for the team management.
The classy Kane Williamson and the aggressive Jason Roy, would walk into any side, but the problem for SRH is that they can field only four overseas players.
With Warner and Rashid Khan as certainties, and given Bairstow's prowess in white ball cricket, it limits opportunities for changes.
Even if some changes in batting are to be considered, it can't come at the cost of Jason Holder/Mohammad Nabi as this would weaken the bowling attack.
The Sunrisers bowling has been impressive, though the fast bowlers went for plenty in the opening match against the KKR on a flat track.
Rashid Khan, expectedly, has been the linchpin of the attack, but the others also came good against the RCB only to be let down by the batting.
Mumbai also haven't hit their best form in batting, but their bowling has been quite superb, especially against the KKR, when they fought back from a virtual no-win situation through the leg spin of Rahul Chahar and the swing and seam mastery of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
There are no selection issues for Mumbai. The right combination, at least for this phase of the tournament, has been found, and players are finding their groove swiftly.
Big scores from Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya are awaited, but overall, the defending champions have begun to flex their muscles.
Of course, T20 is a topsy-turvy format, and no team can take results for granted. But it will take something special from the struggling Sunrisers to win this match.
Mumbai vs Hyderabad in Chennai
6pm UAE Time
Players To Watch Out For:
SRH: Rashid Khan, David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
MI: Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Ishan Kishan Click/tap here to subscribe to Khaleej Times news alerts on Telegram.
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