Two defeats in two games and two losses in three, neither the Sunrisers Hyderabad nor the Mumbai Indians have got off to a great start in IPL 2016. Monday will give them an opportunity to build some kind of momentum, before they are left with too much to do in this too-many-good-teams-in-the-IPL season.
To do that, the team combinations needs to be sorted out and, more importantly, the players need to step up and return the faith shown by their captain. SRH have been troubled by injuries to start off this IPL 9 season, with Yuvraj Singh missing the first two weeks of the tournament because of an ankle injury, while Ashish Nehra and Kane Williamson have been troubled by groin and hamstring problems respectively.
While it is never easy to lose three potential match-winners, the SRH squad needs to look at those absences as the perfect opportunity to make a mark themselves, particularly the batsmen. David Warner is the marquee name in this batting lineup, but the over-reliance on the Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper does not seem to have changed, despite some changes to the batting line this season.
If Warner goes, you feel SRH will crack, and that is the perception that the Sunrisers batsmen need to change. It goes without saying that Shikhar Dhawan needs to find some form, while the likes of Moises Henriques and Deepak Hooda also must contribute.
Eoin Morgan and Naman Ojha did reasonably well to bail SRH out of trouble against KKR in their last game, and while that was not enough to give them a victory, it is at least a start. But, the top four is the key – Warner, Dhawan, Henriques and Morgan – and they need to score the bulk of the runs.
Once Yuvraj and Williamson become available, SRH will have a much more balanced batting unit, but for now, they need the likes of Heriques and Hoods to raise their hands in case Warner goes early. While the match against KKR was another disappointing one from a batting perspective, Sunrisers are unlikely to make too many changes to the playing XI, with the bowling again dependant on Mustafizur Rahman.
The Mumbai Indians, who will not have Lasith Malinga to call upon this season, however, might make a few, with Martin Guptill waiting in the wings to make his debut for the side. A player of Guptill's explosiveness should not be warming the bench for too long, making it likely that the New Zealander will come in for either Kieron Pollard, who despite being billed as an all-rounder has not bowled a single over in IPL 2016, while not scoring too many either, or Tim Southee.
If it is for Pollard, it could be a straight swap, with no tweaks necessary elsewhere, but if Guptill comes in for Southee, then MI will need to drop Parthiv Patel, give the gloves to Jos Buttler and bring in an Indian bowler, be that R Vinay Kumar or Nathu Singh.
The Mumbai Indians might also decide to keep Guptill out of the playing XI and go for a straight swap of Pollard for Corey Anderson.
Expected playing XI: Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Eoin Morgan, Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha, Ashish Reddy, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman, Barinder Sran.
Mumbai Indians: Martin Guptill, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Corey Anderson, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Krunal Pandya, R Vinay Kumar, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah.