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It is amazing how low scoring totals bring about some of the most interesting results in cricket. Such was the case at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Friday as the Sunrisers Hyderabad successfully defended 126 against the Pune Warriors India.
It was a win that sprung up individual performances that would only keep the Sunrisers in good spirits in the fixtures to come. For starters, when most of their batsmen were finding the going tough, their most expensive buy this season; all rounder Thisara Perera made batting look easy scoring at will with a strike rate of 160 plus.
Not to forget his bowling prowess, with ample support from man of the match Amit Mishra, an efficient Ishant Sharma and needless to say the ever consistent Dale Steyn. Not surprisingly, Kris Srikkanth, mentor of the Sunrisers Hyderabad, wore a smile on his face. “We are all very happy. It was a fantastic win for us. The way the boys came together, took up the challenge and performed, the effort has to be applauded. Yesterday, as Sunrisers Hyderabad we showed what team work can do. It was crucial to start off with a win, and we did exactly that.”
The bowling won them the game on Friday night, but a cause of concern would be their batting that hardly took off. Barring Thisara Perera, none of the Sunrisers’ batsmen looked like getting a move on. Not surprisingly, the batting issues would be in focus agreed Srikkanth. “Our batting would be a big focus for us. It would have been a different issue had we put on another 15-20 runs on that wicket. We would like to target a 150 plus scores and these are early days in the tournament. I am sure the batting will come good against the RCB on Sunday.”
When asked if they have any set plans against their opposition, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who too are upbeat after their last over finish against the Mumbai Indians, Srikkanth said, “Every team has a plan when they go into a game. We like to keep things simple, we are playing a good side tomorrow, but we are willing to take the challenge and we are confident of it. Whatever the opposition, whatever the wicket condition, the energy in the camp is high on confidence which is what is important.”
The team is missing out on key players like Darren Sammy and Shikhar Dhawan; but both are expected to join the squad soon. Most importantly, Dhawan who is away from the side is eager to join the team as soon as possible. “We got a message from Shikhar Dhawan and he said he is raring to get back and play for the Sunrisers. He is excited after our win and has shown a lot of keenness to perform. That is the kind of enthusiasm we want in the side, that eagerness to succeed and perform for your side. The team is gelling well as a unit and I am quite positive that they will do well tomorrow.”
Kris Srikkanth also mentioned that there were no injury concerns whatsoever in the team. They will be fielding a completely fit side against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday.
The two southern neighbours Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore go head to head in Match 7 of Pepsi IPL 2013.
Both teams have begun their IPL VI campaigns with wins and will be keen to carry forward that early momentum. While the Sunrisers Hyderabad successfully defended a low total against Pune Warriors India, RCB held their nerves to pull off a two-run victory against the Mumbai Indians.
Sunday, April 7, 2013, 8 p.m
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
With not too much firepower in their batting line-up, Sunrisers Hyderabad will expect all their batsmen to chip in with runs and hope the likes of Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra can mount the pressure on the opposition batsmen. Steyn was, as always, breathing fire in the match against PWI, while the wily Mishra showed he had plenty of tricks in his repertoire to outfox batsmen even in this batsmen-friendly format.
Don’t look beyond Chris Gayle when talking about Royal Challengers Bangalore. The Jamaican took very little time in making his presence felt, scoring an unbeaten 92 in his team’s season opener. The 33-year old southpaw isn’t just going hammer and tongs from the word go; he has shown the willingness to spend time in the middle and sizing up the condition and the opponents before opening his shoulders.
With the threat of law of averages catching up with the Jamaican looming, RCB will also hope for contributions from skipper Virat Kohli and the likes of Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal, both of who have been in fabulous form in the domestic season gone by.
These two teams will be meeting for the first time. However, the Hyderabad franchise have a 6-5 win-loss record over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in previous seasons.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Chris Gayle has hit the most sixes in the IPL; he’s hit 134 sixes in 43 appearances in the league. He also holds the record for winning the most Man of the Match awards in the competition.
RP Singh, who is now part of RCB, was part of the Hyderabad franchise earlier and even won the Purple Cap when Hyderabad won the IPL title in 2009.
Both teams will be seen in action next at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on April 9 when they square-off in RCB’s home fixture.