IPL 2021: Without Warner, new-captain Williamson has task cut out

Cricket Sports

Sunrisers Hyderabad are having their worst IPL season. It’s about to get more challenging. Placed at the bottom of the league table, with just one win in seven games, their new captain Kane Williamson had a forgettable start with a heavy defeat against Rajasthan Royals. Next in line are three of their toughest games – they play defending champions Mumbai Indians on Tuesday, second placed Chennai Super Kings next on Friday and third-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, which will be their first game at Eden Gardens.

In the first phase at Chennai, they lost four out of five games and their poor run has continued at Delhi with two defeats.

They have taken a massive gamble by replacing David Warner as captain and dropping him from the playing XI. However, it only got more difficult. Their last outing against Rajasthan Royals was a rout by 55 runs.

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While the Royals were hammering away the SRH bowlers on the field, the sight of Warner enthusiastically doing 12th man duties in the dug-out couldn’t be missed.

The SRH team’s success over the seasons has been built around their four foreign players, mainly around Warner and Rashid Khan. While in Williamson SRH has a proven leader, the batting of Warner will be missed. The left-handed opener’s below-par form is one of the reasons for their poor showing in the first-leg of this season.

In their interviews with the official broadcaster, SRH’s Director of Cricket Tom Moody, and chief coach Bailey both said if the team starts winning, Warner will have to wait for his chances.

“It’s a big decision, he’s (Warner) a trooper, he’s doing the 12th-man duties as you would expect. With everyone, we would like to stick with the same team for a lot of games if we could. That means playing well and winning a few games in a row. But it also means giving players a few opportunities and not discarding them after one game, ”Bayliss told Star Sports during SRH’s game versus Royals.

Warner has a tremendous record with SRH, scoring 500 plus runs in each of the seasons he played for Hyderabad since 2014. He has got 193 runs in six innings this season too, but has not been able to accelerate, having a strike-rate of just 110.28.

There’s no doubting Warner’s class. He is a very explosive batsman, an impact player.

The main reason for his lack of rhythm is the groin injury that he sustained in November during the second ODI against India. He missed the final ODI, the T20Is that followed and the first two Tests versus India, but was rushed back by Australia for the last two Tests. It didn’t help his recovery and he’s not come to IPL as the same player that he has been with SRH.

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In an interview to Fox Cricket during the first T20I in Christchurch, in February, Warner had revealed that it would take six to nine months more to recover from the groin injury that he sustained in November.

“I have spoken to a few people that have actually had that type of injury and they have just said it’s a niggle. You have just got to teach your brain not to worry about the pain and that it’s not going to happen again. It’s just getting back that confidence to sidestep and run as hard as I can and dive around again. Once I get that, I will be right to go. It’s just not 100 per cent there yet, ”Warner had said.c

SRH have always struggled with power-hitting. The issue is compounded this season with Warner unable to accelerate as well. It is what new captain Williamson has to sort out to get through the next three games and get their campaign back on track.

Their lower-order options, Kedar Jadhav, Mohammed Nabi and Abdul Samad have also yet to fire. It has resulted in below par totals. The kind of runs they have put on the board is hardly going to test the in-form Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings or Royal Challengers Bangalore.