Five-time champions Mumbai Indians face a near-impossible task when they take on bottom-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad in their bid for a spot in the play-offs, in the last league match of the Indian Premier League, in Abu Dhabi, on Friday.
KKR's thumping 86-run victory against Rajasthan Royals has put the play-offs out of Mumbai's reach. KKR are fourth with 14 points from as many games with a net run rate of +0.587, while Mumbai Indians are on 12 points from 13 games but with a net run rate of -0.048.
KKR have all but sealed the fourth position in the standings. For Mumbai Indians to go through, they can only do so if they post a total in excess of 200 and win the match by a margin of 170-plus runs. They can't go past KKR's net run rate if they chase.
Asked if it is an advantage to play the bottom-placed Sunrisers in their final match, MI captain Rohit Sharma had said, "All eight teams are capable of beating each other. But the good thing is that KKR plays before us, so we will know what to do."
In any case, Rohit (363 runs) will have to lead from the front again. He has got starts but has not been able to convert them, and the great white-ball exponent would be itching for a big score.
And so would be his opening partner Ishan Kishan (157 runs), whose confidence would have been boosted from his quickfire half-century against Royals.
MI's horribly out of form middle order, comprising the supremely talented Suryakumar Yadav (235 runs), all-rounders Hardik Pandya (117 runs), Kieron Pollard (232) and Saurabh Tiwary (115 runs), will have to come good.
MI team management would, however, be pleased with the performance of their bowlers, who had restricted Royals for a meagre 90 and are unlikely to tinker with the combination.
Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah (19 wickets) was exceptional and would be raring to bowl his yorkers again. He would need support from Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, who grabbed four wickets in the last game, and off-spinner Jayant Yadav.
Sunrisers, who are already out of reckoning for a play-offs berth, will look to finish the tournament on a high.
Skipper Kane Williamson was back among the runs and would be keen to start from where he left on Wednesday.
But the Kiwi will need support from others like Jason Roy and relatively inexperienced guys like Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad and Wriddhiman Saha.
With the addition of pace sensation Urman Malik, SRH have one of the best bowling attacks and the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan and Siddharth Kaul would have to be at their best to contain MI's explosive batting line up.
Also, the contribution of West Indian all-rounder Jason Holder, both with the bat and ball, could be decisive.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Anukul Roy, Simarjeet Singh, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, James Neesham, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Marco Jansen, Yudhvir Singh, Adam Milne, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (captain), David Warner, Manish Pandey, Sherfane Rutherford, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Urman Malik, Basil Thampi, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Abdul Samad, J Suchith, Jason Holder, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Jason Roy.
Match starts at 7.30pm IST.