Mumbai Indians will lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabd at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad on Monday. The defending champions will once again depend on Rohit Sharma to give them a rollicking start, while they have also have the likes of Harbhajan Singh and all-rounder Hardik Pandya who can win them the match on their given day. Meanwhile, Hyderabad will be led by hard-hitting David Warner, who along with Shikhar Dhawan can decimate any bowling attack.
Let’s look at the players who can change the complexion of the game:
Rohit Sharma: Rohit Sharma is a naturally-gifted batsman and in T20 form there are few who can match his striking abilities. Since 2011, Rohit has been the mainstay of Mumbai Indians’ batting. He took over the team’s captaincy a couple of games into the 2013 season and led MI to their maiden IPL title. He also led his team when it won the IPL in the previous season. The elegant batsman led his team from the front (84 off 54 balls) in their game against Koklata Knight Riders, which Mumbai won comprehensively. He will be a key to Mumbai’s success against Hyderabad.
Harbhajan Singh: Harbhajan Singh has been with the Mumbai Indians since the very first edition of the IPL. The experienced off-spinner has done a great service to the team since the last eight seasons and his experience will come in handy in Mumbai Indians’ bowling line-up. He also has the ability to bat and his quickfire 45 off 30 balls against Rising Pune Supergiants is a testimony to his abilities.
Hardik Pandya: The flambouyant Baroda all-rounder never lets pressure affect his game and instead relishes such situations. It was no surprise that he was fast tracked into the Indian ODI and T20 side after a successful run in the IPL 2015.Hardik in his debut IPL game against RCB, hit a six off just the second ball he faced. However, his potential was truly known when he took Mumbai to victory with a quick-fire eight-ball 21 against CSK coming when the team needed 30 from two overs. He also played some astounding innings in 2016 T20 World Cup and Mumbai would be hoping that the all-rounder repeats those performances in IPL too.
David Warner: Warner is the first cricketer to record centuries in back-to-back T20 matches. After spending five seasons with Delhi Daredevils, he was signed by Sunrisers Hyderabad at the IPL Player Auction in 2014 and has since been a vital cog in the Hyderabad’s batting line-up. He has been their most prolific run-scorer over the past two editions and will lead the team on the field in Vivo IPL 2016.
Shikhar Dhawan: Shikhar Dhawan’s powerful batting and great fielding skills make him a perfect fit for the Twenty20 format. The left-hand opening batsman had a great 2012 season, tallying 569 runs from 15 matches. Since then, he has been Team India’s preferred opener in Tests and ODIs. Given his fluid run-scoring at the top of the order – not to mention the world-famous moustache twirl – he is an instant crowd favourite.
Kane Williamson: The New Zealand skipper, who played just two matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015, if fit, can play an important role in Hyderabad’s scheme of things in this edition of IPL. One of the best cricketing brains in New Zealand as of now, he impressed one and all in the recently-concluded World T20. He has been in excellent form in the last few years and with Warner this can form a deadly combination at the top.
Ashish Nehra: The left-arm paceman has the experience to bowl in any situation. He represented the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2008 and joined the Delhi Daredevils during IPL 2009 in South Africa. He was a part of the Pune Warriors India till IPL 2012 before being traded back to the Daredevils going into IPL 2013. Nehra was picked by the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2016 IPL Auction. The quick bowler has played a vital role in India’s success in T20 Internationals in 2016 and he is expected to play a similar role in the Sunrisers.