Languishing at the bottom of the table, defending champions Mumbai Indians face the uphill task of lifting themselves back in the reckoning when they take on a resurgent Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL here on Monday. (Click here for latest on IPL)
Having won just two games out of eight they have played so far, the Mumbai side cannot afford to lose any more matches if it has to reach the semifinals.
However, it is easier said then done as the Sunrisers have an impressive track record on home ground after they made their entry into the IPL last year.
The Hyderabad side is already among the top four having won four out of the eight matches it played so far. (Also read: MI can still make top-four, says Rayudu)
Mumbai had comprehensive back-to-back victories against Kings XI Punjab on May 3 and Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 6, but faltered in the game against Chennai Super Kings yesterday as the southern side gained upper hand.
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma and West Indian powerhouse Kieron Pollard have been successful in the current season and the good show of Ambati Rayudu, who made 59 runs in 43 balls in the match against Chennai on Saturday, is reassuring for the side. (Related: IPL final moved to Bangalore from Mumbai)
Mumbai Opener Chidambaram Gautam has pulled off a few surprises with his big hits but the other key players like Michael Hussey, Corey Anderson need to rise to the occasion to put their team on a firm footing.
Though the visiting team is handicapped by the absence of Zaheer Khan owing to an injury, it still boasts of seasoned bowlers like Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha and Praveen Kumar, who replaced Zaheer.
Sunrisers are fresh and buoyed by the victories against Delhi Daredevils in the rain-hit match in Delhi yesterday and the earlier game against Rajasthan Royals, though inconsistent batting appears to be a cause for concern to the team.
The bowling attack comprising the dangerous Dale Steyn, young Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Karn Sharma, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Moises Henriques and Irfan Pathan, however, has been reliable to the side.
The crucial batsmen of Sunrisers, including captain Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Darren Sammy and Aaron Finch, need to come up with some destructive knocks to put their side on top.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Michael Hussey, Pragyan Ojha, Corey Anderson, Praveen Kumar, Josh Hazlewood, CM Gautam, Aditya Tare, Apoorv Wankhade, Marchant de Lange, Krishmar Santokie, Ben Dunk, Pavan Suyal, Sushant Marathe, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal and Lendl Simmons.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan (C), Dale Steyn, David Warner, Darren Sammy, Amit Mishra, Aaron Finch, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Brendan Taylor, Moises Henrisques, Venugopala Rao, Jason Holder, S Aniruddha, Manprit Juneja, K L Rahul, Amit Paunikar, Naman Ojha, Ricky Bhui, Ashish Reddy, Chama Milind, Parvez Rasool, Prashanth Parameswaran and Karn Sharma.