The ball went out of the boundary after David Warner hit the bat. Warner of five feet five inches jumped in joy. Hit the punch in the air. The fist was clenched as if the playoff ticket was closed in it, which he had barely taken away.
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s 10-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Tuesday may have fueled a worry but team captain Warner remembers his next round after the 24th defeat of Kings XI to Punjab on October 24. The road to reach was considered difficult.
Hyderabad team dominated till the game of 37 overs in the match against Punjab, but in the last three overs, the wickets fell and this team lost the match by 12 runs.
After that Hyderabad had to win the last three matches to reach the playoffs. So first they beat Delhi Capitals by 88 runs, then beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets and now defeated Mumbai Indians and achieved the seemingly impossible target. They more easily than expected.
Remembered year 2016
David Warner remembers 2016 repeatedly after this performance. Then the Hyderabad team became the champion. This is the only team in IPL history that managed to win the title despite not being in the first two places in the league round.
Referring to the history after the match against Mumbai, Warner said, “We are looking forward to 2016 when we had to win every match to win the title.”
He added, “When you have your back against the wall, you have nothing to lose.”
The new story is of 2020. Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are the top teams of IPL-13. All three have made it to the playoffs and by entering the next round, Hyderabad has made a psychological edge over the three teams.
The Hyderabadi team, which has scored a hat-trick of victories to reach the play-offs, is currently in such a rhythm that any opponent can be shaken before even getting into the field.
Players who bring stars to the ground
On paper, Sunrisers Hyderabad team does not look the best. It does not have an army of star players like Mumbai, Bangalore or Delhi. But the players, they are losing the glow of big stars.
For example, Shahbaz Nadeem was elected man of the match against Mumbai Indians. Nadeem, who took two wickets for just 19 runs in four overs against Mumbai, is not able to easily find a place in the Hyderabad team. He has got only five matches this season. But he proved to be the most useful player in the most important match.
This is also the story of Sandeep Sharma. If Bhuvneshwar Kumar was not injured, Sandeep could hardly have got a place in the playing eleven. But, now with 13 wickets, he is among the most important bowlers in Hyderabad. Sandeep Sharma, who took three wickets in a match against Mumbai, has dismissed Rohit Sharma twice cheaply this season.
Riddhiman Saha is also among the Hyderabadi players who have shone like a star on the field after being anonymous for a large part of the 13th season of IPL.
Saha played only one match before the last three matches against Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. After an average performance in that only match, he was being described as a burden and weak link on the team. But when he got a chance in the last three matches of Do or Die, he caught it with both hands. In these three matches, he has scored 184 runs with the help of two half-centuries.
Saha is proving to be charismatic, not just ahead of the wicket. While he stumps Surya Kumar Yadav with Nadeem in a match against Mumbai, former veteran wicketkeeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara, commenting on the match, declared him ‘India’s best wicketkeeper’.
The way he is batting at the moment. The beauty and ease with which the ball is sent out of the boundary has increased manifold in the number of his fans.
King Khan of IPL
Hyderabad also has Rashid Khan. King Khan of bowling in the IPL. Only a few batsmen have the cut of the secret that their balls are making in IPL-13.
He has 19 wickets in his account. He has bowled 56 overs in IPL-13 and has given runs at an average of only 5.28 in each over. He has proved to be the most economical bowler in this season.
Jason Holder, who has taken 10 wickets in just five matches for Hyderabad, has a better strike rate than bowlers of all the teams who have reached the playoffs. He has taken wickets on every 12th ball. Manish Pandey, who scored 380 runs this season for Hyderabad, has also been a headache for the opponents.
Captain does not answer
Captain Warner is the biggest star of the team and he has also performed the best. He is the second most successful batsman of the tournament with 529 runs.
As an opener, he knows to counter attack an opponent’s bowling attack, so as a captain he has the skills to take the right decision at the right time. Even after key players like Mitchell Marsh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Vijay Shankar were out due to injury, they have not let the team disintegrate.
They are taking the risk of putting a player like Johnny Bairstow out. To strengthen the middle order, he has given preference to Kane Williamson and Jason Holder and is opening Saha in place of Bairstow. These bets are also going on.
Rather, Warner has performed far better than every player who replaces him. Warner, who thinks far ahead on the strategy front, tries to make a mental edge before taking to the field to compete with the opposing team.
As soon as the Mumbai match ended, he focused on the match on November 6. That day Hyderabad is competing against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
After defeating Mumbai, Warner said, “RCB are a very good team. They have many dangerous players. But we beat them in the final of 2016. It will be a do or die match. Hopefully this match Keep the rhythm intact. “