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Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson praises team after win vs Rajasthan Royals

Newly-appointed Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson says the absence of David Warner does create a vacuum, but has backed Wriddhiman Saha to grow into the role of an opener during the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL).

cricket Updated: Apr 10, 2018 07:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
IPL,Indian Premier League,Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson-led Sunrisers Hyderabad got the better of Rajasthan Royals in their opening game of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL 2018).(AFP)

Ever since the BCCI suspended David Warner in accordance to Cricket Australia’s decision, the question had always been lingering around the corner. How big an impact will it have on Sunrisers Hyderabad? After all, besides leading the franchisee, Warner was the highest run-getter in the past two of the three editions of the Indian Premier League. With a lethal pairing up front with Shikhar Dhawan, it was a major reason why the former champions were on song last season as well. England’s Alex Hales had been roped in as a replacement, but would he have the same impact?

On Monday, all those questions were put to rest. Alex Hales didn’t even play and yet, the side scored a thumping nine-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals. They’ve not only moved on, but also have back-up plans in place. If one looks back at the batting pattern of the Warner-Dhawan combo, a striking feature was that never would the two go all guns blazing at the same time. If Warner’s displaying an onslaught in the middle, Dhawan usually took a back seat and vice-versa.

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It was quite the same against the Royals too. Dhawan, dropped by Ajinkya Rahane in the very first over, took charge and scored a brilliant 57-ball 77 while Williamson, despite racing on to 12 off six deliveries, remained unbeaten with 36 runs off 35 balls. Wriddhiman Saha did depart after scoring just five runs, but Williamson indicated that he might be retained in the role moving forward.

Admitting that Warner’s loss does create a vacuum, Williamson said: “I don’t think anyone can replace Davey (David Warner). He’s world class, has performed in the last couple of years or so and probably been some of the best of the competition. Certainly, it’s been a big loss for us. Saha had to come in into that opening role. We know he is a fantastic player. So, we’ll look forward to those two to put together some partnerships.”

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While the result may indicate otherwise, Williamson added that it’s still early days for the team and building momentum will be a key aspect. On being asked how he reacted to his new role, the Kiwi international stated: “Obviously it happened very quickly. As things unfolded, we were sort of in contact a little bit. And having been at the franchise for a little while, it was a privilege to get asked. The guys have been really good and it was nice to come out today and play well as a unit, work hard in the field and I think that’s a key attribute to the performance today.”

He also showered praise on Siddharth Kaul, who picked up a couple of wickets while tightening the screws in his quota of four overs, giving away just 17 runs. “Last year he certainly burst on to the scene… He was really looking to get the opportunity and it was a long time coming,” Williamson said. “And he was an outstanding performer for Sunrisers last year; very consistent and a very good death bowler. Today was an extension of that and he bowled very nicely.”

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 07:39 IST