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Taking pacers to a batsmen’s party

sports Updated: May 27, 2016 08:30 IST

NEW DELHI: After winning the Eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday, Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner spoke of how the tall KKR pacers Morne Morkel and Jason Holder made his batsmen’s lives difficult on a good Ferozeshah Kotla track.

“It was becoming difficult to play the tall pacers as the ball was rising above waist level. It was getting tougher for us to play the shots,” the Australian batsman said.

War ner then smiled and added that against Gujarat Lions, Sunrisers won’t have to contend with tall pacers. It will be a pure test of skill and how well the seamers execute their plans.

While all of Warner’s pacers were on target against KKR, he is aware of Gujarat’s batting potential. “The Lions have firing power upfront and both Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum have been in touch. That is why we need to restrict them early.”

That statement holds true for both teams. Their seamers are currently the top two on the wickettakers’ list. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (21) and Dhawal Kulkarni (18) both rely on swing and release.

Bhuvneshwar holds an advantage though. In the last two games against Lions, he has picked six wickets, helping his team dominate. His four wickets at Rajkot ensured a 10-wicket win while in Hyderabad, Lions were restricted to 126 by Bhuvneshwar and Mustafizur Rehman.

Lions will need a plan to tackle Bhuvneshwar. Its middle-order has fired occasionally and has lost wickets in clumps. That could give some hope to Warner when he bowls against Lions.

A major factor in Bhuvneshwar’s success is Rehman. The Bangladesh pacer has 16 wickets and his miserly bowling helps Bhuvneshwar execute his plans well.

Dhawal Kulkarni too is in form. Before AB de Villiers gate-crashed Lions’ party, Kulkarni had put his team on track with a brilliant four-wicket haul. However, with Kulkarni and Praveen Kumar both being natural outswing bowlers, the presence of left-handers in the SRH set-up could prove a disadvantage as their deliveries will come into the batsmen.

Both teams bat deep but it will be the bowling that could be the deciding factor.

Bhuvneshwar has got his yorkers right and picked important wickets against KKR on Wednesday. Kulkarni too can vary his line and pace with the old ball, and his slower ones have worked in his favour.

He got Yuvraj out in Hyderabad, inducing him to mistime a delivery bowled wide outside off.

Warner has been a firm believer in the theory of the first six overs, be it chasing or defending. So far, Bhuvneshwar and Co have delivered for him.

First Published: May 27, 2016 08:30 IST