Ever since the Chennai-based Sun TV Network staked claim to the Hyderabad franchise after Deccan Chargers were disbanded last year, the big debate has been whether the new outfit will succeed in establishing a big fan base like their predecessors.
The empty stands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium during the Sunrisers opening game against Pune Warriors on Friday reflected the fact that the local fans are yet to warm up to the new franchise.
The owners have roped in VVS Laxman as team mentor to establish the local connect and the other mentor Krishnamachari Srikkanth also tried to woo the locals by reiterating his Hyderabad connection. But the efforts did not bring the results at least on the opening day.
And enthusiasm did not really soar as the hosts, batting first, struggled to get the big hits going. The top five batsmen all got starts but could not really go on and get a big one. Opener Akshath Reddy (27) and Thisara Perera (30) were the best among the lot but fell to Yuvraj Singh and Ashok Dinda respectively.
Pune Warriors skipper Angelo Mathews opened with Marlon Samuels and he conceded just four runs bowling off spin. Opener Parthiv Patel had to wait till the fifth over to hit two boundaries off Samuels. Skipper Kumar Sangakkara showed some signs of form after the poor run in the last season when he struck Dinda and Mathews for a boundary each only to be castled by leg spinner Rahul Sharma. Perera gave a fillip to the innings by launching Samuels for a four and six but his innings