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IPL 2019: Sunrisers Hyderabad hope for David Warner’s last stand versus Kings XI Punjab

David Warner will be aiming to finish his scintillating campaign on a high even as Sunrisers Hyderabad’s brittle middle-order face a tricky test against Kings XI Punjab in an IPL encounter.

cricket Updated: Apr 29, 2019 08:26 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IPL 2019,Sunrisers Hyderabad,David Warner
Sunrisers Hyderabad cricketer David Warner raises his bat after scoring fifty.(AFP)

In David Warner Sunrisers Hyderabad trust. Aggregating 600-plus three seasons in a row – he didn’t play in 2018 -- the stocky Australian is the fulcrum of their batting. However, after Sunday, the 2016 champions will sorely miss Warner.

The match against Kings XI Punjab will be Warner’s last this season before he leaves to join Australia’s pre-World Cup camp in Brisbane, starting May 2. He leaves at a crucial juncture as SRH’s playoff chances hang in the balance after two straight losses.

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The fourth-placed team has 10 points from 11 matches, but knows that four lower-placed sides are within striking distance to gain an upper hand. With every game crucial from here, the team would hope Warner – he tops the batting list this season with 611 runs – shines one last time to make its job easier.

Warner will not be there when SRH face Mumbai Indians on May 2 and Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 4. Two crucial points against KXIP will thus be crucial.

Warner’s impact

Warner’s influence in SRH is obvious. Barring last year, when he was not allowed to play IPL while serving the ball-tampering ban, he has 600-plus since 2016. Only Chris Gayle has reached the mark in three IPLs.

With Cricket Australia earmarking IPL as the comeback platform for Warner after the one-year ban and elbow surgery, the opener has been on top of his game. This edition, he became only the third player, after Virender Sehwag and Jos Buttler, to smash five straight half-centuries in IPL.

Those numbers show how Warner (611 runs in 11 games) has almost single-handedly carried SRH’s batting load. Jonny Bairstow (445 runs in 10 matches) and Warner together have raised more than 1000 runs this season. The England wicketkeeper has already left for World Cup preparations, and with Warner packing his bags is likely to leave a gaping hole in the SRH batting line-up.

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Warner is no Gayle, and he doesn’t depend on boundaries alone. The case in point is his 37 in the loss to Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Saturday. His 32-ball knock had no boundary. Warner’s ability to find the gap ensures the run-rate doesn’t fall while he waits for the loose delivery to put away.

Despite having such a consistent performer in their ranks, other SRH batsmen have not been able to emulate him. Barring Warner and Bairstow, no SRH batsman has crossed 200. What has also hurt them is the poor run of skipper Kane Williamson, who guided them to a runner-up finish in 2018, but is on a comeback following shoulder injury.

In five matches, the Kiwi skipper has scored just 41 runs. Manish Pandey hitting two back-to-back half-centuries, against Chennai Super Kings and RR, will be a relief for SRH, especially due to the poor run of all-rounder Vijay Shankar. Having started with 40 not out, he averages 19.22 from 11 innings.

The team management would hope when Warner leaves, Williamson and Pandey assume the mantle of lead run-getters.

First Published: Apr 28, 2019 19:16 IST