Chance for Mumbai Indians to seal playoff berth

With nine wins in 13 matches, Mumbai Indians would look to secure their playoff berth today when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium. The hosts have maintained a 100 per cent win record so far in the six matches of the Pepsi Indian Premier League at Wankhede. 

Anil Kumble, Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar
Anil Kumble, Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar during practice at the Wankhede yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK

On all six occasions, Mumbai Indians won the toss and elected to bat first. They have been successful in putting up 170-plus scores in five matches, except in one game against two-time champions Chennai Super Kings where they could manage 139-5. So, the toss seems to be a crucial factor as MI are yet to be tested batting second under the lights at the Wankhede where the dew factor is a worry.

Though both teams are coming off a win in their last match on Saturday, Hyderabad would be keen to improve their net run rate (-0.092). There could be a close contest for the fourth spot between Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have a net run rate of + 0.475, and Hyderabad.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ five-wicket win over Virat Kohli’s men yesterday may have provided some relief in the SRH camp. They would be eyeing a big win against Mumbai which would help Hyderabad improve their net run rate and inch closer to the playoffs.

However, Hyderabad coach Tom Moody insisted that their focus is not on the net run rate, but on winning games. “We are not looking at net run rate. It’s about winning the game. There is no point looking at what other teams are doing, whether they are winning or losing.

We know what we need to do and keep winning as many games as possible. Anything beyond 10 (wins) is going to be a bonus,” said Moody on
Saturday.  Mumbai, meanwhile, would have to be cautious against in-form pacer Dale Steyn, who would be eager to have a go on the Wankhede strip, which is ideal for pacers.

MI pacers Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga have revelled on their home ground, grabbing 19 and 11 wickets respectively.  Hopefully, MI batsmen would have plans in place for Steyn, who has bowled most dot balls (160) in the sixth edition so far. It is not just Steyn that MI batters would have to deal with.

They also have to be careful against Amit Mishra and Darren Sammy, who became the second Sunrisers bowler after Mishra to snare four wickets in an innings. 

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