Going around, one encounters huge Sunrisers Hyderabad posters, and a majority of them feature the team’s two most important players.
It isn’t as if the team lacks other quality batsmen, but Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner have been carrying the load of the team for long. So when the two click, Sunrisers need not worry.
They have won three games so far, but have lost as many. In the games they won, Dhawan and Warner were at the helm. Dhawan was unsuccessful in the first three games, and the side struggled despite Warner’s solo efforts.
Dhawan endured a poor season starting with the World T20, and his slump continued in the IPL. Initially, it was his limited foot movement that posed problems, but credit goes to him for making amends, which has seen him occupy the opening slot for a long time now.
Every big innings he has played for India and Sunrisers shows he may have taken time to settle down, but he has made up for that later in his innings.
In the last edition of the IPL, Hyderabad had managed seven wins. Of those, five had big opening partnerships, with Warner and Dhawan laying the foundation. In 2014, Dhawan had helped the side pull off four wins out of six.
Though not as explosive as Warner, Dhawan does well when he has an attacking partner, while he concentrates on building a stand. His strike rate of 113.35 in T20s shows that when it comes to explosive batting, Dhawan often finds himself in bother. Even when he is opening with Rohit Sharma for India, rarely does he take the lead as Rohit keeps the momentum going.
“Shikhar is currently on an upward curve and he has put together some important knocks in the last few games. It is his work ethic as he is working hard on his game and constantly looking to improve. Those cycles which are on the downward are short and everyone goes through them. Thankfully for us, he is on the way up and we hope he continues to score runs because it helps us in the top order,” Sunrisers coach Tom Moody said before the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday.
On Friday, team mentor VVS Laxman spent time with Dhawan before he went for nets. The way Laxman spoke showed how keen he is to see Dhawan carry forward his form. The opener has a habit of throwing away starts and Laxman knows the only way to counter the pair of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers is to ensure Dhawan fires at the top.