SRH will continue to miss Williamson, and might want to rejig their top order with Bairstow pushed to open
The Sunrisers Hyderabad had lost two straight games at the start of their IPL campaigns in 2014, 2016 and 2020 too. In 2016, they went on to win the title, and in 2020, they made the playoffs, finishing third. But a look back at history might not be enough if they are to avert a third successive loss this season. Especially as they go up against defending champions Mumbai Indians, fresh from consigning the Kolkata Knight Riders to anafter coming up marginally short in their season opener against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Chasing at Chepauk in their first two games,in a rash of ill-judged shots, particularly in their last outing, against the Knight Riders, the want of solidity and fluency in their middle order exposed. They could miss the services of for a third game on the trot, but even in his absence, the Sunrisers possess resources potent enough – at least on paper – to pose the Mumbai Indians a challenge.
That possibility, however, might warrant some tinkering in the line-up, perhaps even a promotion to the opening spot for, who, if handed the gloves, could allow the side to bring in an Indian allrounder – like Kedar Jadhav – in place of Wriddhiman Saha, who kept in the first two matches but struggled with the bat.
Team combination concerns aren’t as acute for the Mumbai Indians, but they might sense an opportunity to hand offspinnerhis first game of the season, a tactical ploy that has reaped captain impressive rewards over the past two editions.
In the news
Williamson is unlikely to be fit to make the playing XI, as he continues his recovery from an elbow injury, but he said in a social-media video posted by his franchise that he was “pretty optimistic” about returning to full fitness “within the week”.
England batsman Jason Roy, whom the Sunrisers had acquired as Mitchell Marsh’s replacement, finished his seven-day quarantine on Friday, but might have to wait before getting a game.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt) 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Rahul Chahar, 9 Marco Jansen/Jayant Yadav, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner (capt), 2. Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Vijay Shankar, 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 Rashid Khan, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Abdul Samad, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Shahbaz Nadeem, 11 T Natarajan
Stats that matter
- Warner is one shy of becoming the first batter to 50 half-centuries in the IPL. That landmark fifty would also be his 40th for the Sunrisers, the most by a batter for a team in the tournament. His opposite number, Sharma, is 28 runs short of 4000 Runs in T20s as captain.
- Pollard needs two sixes to become the fifth player to hit .
- Saturday’s match will be Ishan Kishan’s 100th appearances in T20s. He needs 39 to reach 2500 runs in the format.
- Two wickets in the game will make Krunal the sixth Mumbai Indians bowler with . Hardik is one catch shy of becoming the third from the franchise to take .
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha