Dubai: The Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad will be both looking at persisting with their winning forms heading into yet another high-scoring IPL encounter in Sharjah, on Sunday.
After 14 encounters between the two teams, it’s honours even with the four-time and defending champions holding a slight edge after the way they handled their last match against Kings XI Punjab. Out to 14 matches played, Mumbai Indians have won seven matches while the Sunrisers have claimed the other seven.
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But one uncanny highlight is that the Mumbai team won both the matches played last year — the away one by a convincing 40 runs and the home game in the Super Over.
There were several positives that Mumbai Indians took from their rousing 48-run win against Kings XI Punjab last weekend. For one, the four-time defending champion rose to the top of the points table with the entire side coming together as a team — from the batsmen to the pacers and the spinners.
Zaheer Khan, Director of Cricket Operations at MI, could not hide his thrill after the emphatic win. Speaking on the team’s ‘Coach Cam’, Khan touched on the all-round performance and the Hardik-Pollard partnership along with sticking to the bowling plans.
“Very happy with the win. I think it was very important for us. We’ve been playing good cricket. I think you know the preparations have been fantastic and we’ve been motivating our troops in that regard. Everyone has been in tune with the game,” Khan said in his remarks.
“They absorbed the pressure very well. I think that was one of the key highlights, be it bowling or batting. Rohit and Ishan put together a great partnership which was required at that stage. They took their time. The conditions were not easy,” the former Indian pacer added.
MI suffered a couple of early dismissals as both Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav departed early into the innings. That’s when skipper Rohit Sharma and youngster Ishan Kishan rebuilt MI’s innings with a cautious approach.
After skipper Rohit’s dismissal, the duo of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard went all guns blazing putting up an unbeaten partnership of 67 runs from just 23 balls. “Hardik and Pollard, that’s what they’re known for. I think it’s great to have the big man [Pollard] in such a form. Coming from the tournament win in the Caribbean and now he’s continuing with that form which is very important. We’re always banking on Pollard coming to the party and when he comes to the party early, it’s always a great sign for us,” Khan admitted.
The SRH think tank can also wean away a lot of positives despite CSK controlling the first innings before youngsters Priyam Garg (51 not out) and Abhishek Sharma (31) lifted the Hyderabad side to a competitive 164 for five.
With their order not making any significant contributions, it was left up to the former India U19 World Cup skipper Garg getting his maiden IPL half-century to team up with Sharma to raise a 77-run stand for the fifth wicket to make it into an even contest.
CSK needed 28 runs from the final over and skipper David Warner handed the ball to 18-year-old spinner Abdul Samad. That was a gamble which paid off as Samad held his nerves to see his side through for their second win of this competition.
The SRH spinners, especially Rashid Khan did their bit with the Afghani spinner conceding just 12 runs off his four overs as CSK choked to fall seven runs short of the target.