Sunrisers Hyderabad went into their big clash against Mumbai Indians on Wednesday somewhat low on confidence, having not tasted success in their last couple of encounters. Having said that, they made the comfort of playing at home work to their advantage, so much so that Mumbai looked completely undercooked in spite of having a three-match winning streak behind them. First, the Sunrisers bowled exceptionally well to lay low a confident Mumbai batting line-up on a tough pitch. Then, with the bat, they were assured enough to overcome any challenge offered by the Mumbai bowlers.
To put the match into perspective, it was with the bat that Mumbai lost it and with the ball that the Sunrisers won it. The fact that Mumbai could not even end up with a run rate of seven in spite of losing only four wickets batting first told the tale of the visitors’ mighty struggle. The big problem with the Mumbai innings was that they lost wickets just when they needed the batsmen to carry on. Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar got the side off to a decent start, but Tendulkar’s dismissal was immediately followed by Dinesh Karthik’s, which put a break on the scoring.
After the twin blows, Mumbai did well to rebuild courtesy the partnership between Smith and skipper Rohit Sharma. However, the same story repeated itself as Sharma and Smith fell in quick succession. Further, the limitations of Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu when the ball is not coming on to the bat swiftly were exposed as both big hitters failed to find the boundaries in the slog overs. Had only one of the batsmen who had got their eye in earlier stayed on, the situation could have been a bit different. As things turned out, Mumbai’s innings went nowhere in spite of having wickets in hand.
Even as Mumbai’s batsmen struggled, full credit must be reserved for Sunrisers’ bowlers, who made use of the conditions brilliantly. Ishant Sharma isn’t the most consistent of fast bowlers, but on Thursday he showed what he is capable of if he gets his act right. Big names like Tendulkar and Karthik also failed to deal with Sharma in an appropriate manner. Amit Mishra supported Sharma very well; his dismissals of Smith and Sharma playing pivotal roles in restricting Mumbai. Dale Steyn was on the mark as always.
Mumbai had the bowlers to trouble the Sunrisers on this surface. But, the hosts had Shikhar Dhawan in their wings, who still seems to be living in his dream world, where he made an immaculate Test debut against Australia. On a pitch where must batsmen struggled to score runs, Dhawan singlehandedly took the fight into the Mumbai camp, and the bowlers looked completely lost in the face of his assault. Kumar Sangakkara and Hanuma Vihari came up with good supporting acts to aid Dhawan, as the Sunrisers got back to winning ways.
Turning point of the game: Karthik’s dismissal for 0, which left Mumbai fumbling at 32 for 2.
--By A Cricket Analyst