(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
Published: Mon 16 May 2022, 11:40 PM
Last updated: Mon 16 May 2022, 11:42 PM
About the only positive thing Sunrisers Hyderabad could take from the 54-run defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders in their previous match is young Umran Malik's return to wicket-taking ways. The 21-year-old tearaway took 3-33 to break a barren spell that had lasted four matches. His failure was one of the major reasons why SRH had slumped to four successive defeats before playing KKR.
Umran had hogged the limelight this season with his hot pace that had fetched him 15 wickets as his team, recovering from a dismal start, raced to five wins on the trot. In this run SRH looked a fantastic side that would coast into the playoffs.
Apart from having a potent pace quartet (Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan and Marco Jansen being the other three apart from Malik), the batting was also beginning to prosper.
Overseas stars Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran were making their presence felt along with in-form Indian batters Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi.
Kane Williamson was the only one from the top order who looked out of sorts. But with so many things going right, what could go wrong? Plenty, as it transpired.
Opposing batsmen found out a way to tackle Umran's menacing speed through counter-attack which the inexperienced youngster couldn't handle. The issue was compounded as the other pace bowlers also suffered a big drop in control. Then the law of averages caught up for a while with in-form batsmen Sharma, Tripathi, Markram and Pooran. Finally, and most problematically, Williamson simply couldn't raise his form.
This meant that SRH tumbled from the being top in the top 3 in the points table to the lower half and now find themselves on the brink of elimination.
That they are still technically in contention for a place in the playoffs is because several teams went through ups and downs .
With the end of the league stage in sight, it's reached a do or die situation for SRH.
If their slump hadn't been so sharp, one might have thought that SRH would be clear favourites against bottom of table Mumbai Indians in tonight's match.
Where SRH have lost their last five matches, MI have won three of their last five suggesting a late revival even if they have failed to keep their hopes of a place in the playoffs intact.
Also, while Rohit Sharma is still seeking top form, much like SRH captain Williamson, Mumbai have found other players to give them a winning edge. Young left hand batsman Tilak Varma has been identified by Rohit as one who should play for India in all formats sooner rather than later, which is high praise from the Indian captain.
MI have also reaped rich benefits from spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, back at his threatening best, and overseas recruits Daniel Sams and Tim David proving their worth in the last few matches.
While Umran's return to wicket-taking form has given SRH some hope, the road to redemption for SRH is paved with umpteen hurdles.
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