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SRH captain confirms top order; hopes for his pace attack to click
By IPL Staff
Abu Dhabi 17 April 2014
If there was one criticism of the Sunrisers Hyderabad team in IPL 2013, it was that they relied heavily on their bowlers to win them matches. Their batting seemed to rest solely on the shoulders of Shikhar Dhawan.
No one can say that about the Sunrisers in Pepsi IPL 2014. Their top-three reads, Shikhar Dhawan, Aaron Finch and David Warner – in that order, as confirmed by the skipper himself, ahead of their first match, against the Rajasthan Royals.
“We have decided that Finch and I will open the batting,” Shikhar said on the eve of the match. “It gives us the advantage of a left-right combination at the top of the order, which can make it difficult for the bowlers to maintain their line and length, especially in the T20 format. Warner will bat at No.3.”
One of the team mentors, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, who accompanied the captain, said that the addition of Finch and Warner has made SRH a complete side.
“It was very important for us to strengthen our top order, which we have done now. We have retained our core group of five players who did well for us last year. We had a winning bowling unit and we have maintained that pack. That is the advantage we have,” Srikkanth said.
Talking about the bowling, Shikhar said that he was particularly excited to see the green Abu Dhabi wicket in the first match between MI and KKR, as he has a team rich in pace resources.
“I saw the game yesterday. The ball was moving a bit and there was extra bounce. That was a heartening sight given we have world’s best fast bowler and other quality pacers, like Ishant and Bhuvi, who can bowl well around him. It will help us for sure.”
Segueing from the team to his personal form, Shikhar admitted that he had some technical issues during the ICC World T20. He said that he has learnt from that setback and worked on the weaknesses.
“I worked on quite a few things after the tough World Twenty20. You learn more during the lean patch than you do when everything is going smoothly,” he said.
Adding to it, Srikkanth said that the captain has regained his form and looks very relaxed. “In our practice match against Delhi Daredevils, Shikhar batted for the full 20 overs and scored 90-odd runs at a strike-rate of 150-plus. That augers well for our team,” he said.
The fourth match of the season will see the Sunrisers Hyderabad open their Pepsi IPL 2014 campaign against the Rajasthan Royals.
Unlike several of the other teams in the IPL, SRH and RR do not boast too many glamorous players, yet can surprise with their above-the-weight punches. Both teams finished among the top four teams last season and will be hoping to go the distance this time round. When
Friday, April 18, 2014, 8 pm IST Where
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Shikhar Dhawan was the team’s top run-getter in the previous season and he will be expected to do the same yet again. It will be interesting to see how the left-hand batsman copes with the added responsibility of captaincy. Dhawan will possibly look to bat deep into the second half of the innings allowing the likes of David Warner and Aaron Finch to play their natural game. The one other player in the SRH line-up who can leave a telling mark on the match is Dale Steyn. The South African is the model fast bowler – fit as a fiddle, possessing a clean action, accurate to the dot, very aggression and stingy when it comes to conceding runs.
Among the others, keep an eye on how the spin twins, Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma, operate; the two leg-spinners were hugely impressive on the slow and low tracks in Hyderabad last season and were top-line performers in SRH’s run to the Playoffs. With conditions not quite similar – although the pitches have offered a certain degree of turn – it will be interesting to see if they can work their magic yet again.
In the RR line-up, look no further than their skipper Shane Watson. The Australian is the most experienced player in the RR squad and he will be keen to stamp his authority on the team quickly. Among others, who will need to deliver the goods for RR, are the quick-learning and fast-maturing James Faulkner and Ajinkya Rahane.
SRH and RR shared honours in the two fixtures between them in the regular season in IPL 2013. Thereafter, the two teams met yet again in the first of the Pepsi IPL 2013 Playoff matches, where the Rahul Dravid-led Royals prevailed in their chase of 133. Trivia
The Rajasthan Royals have the largest register of players for Pepsi IPL 2014 with 25 players, yet they were left with the highest amount of unspent money (INR 5.55 Crores) at the end of the 2014 Pepsi IPL Player Auction. What Next
Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals both head to Sharjah for their next fixtures. RR’s next outing is against Kings XI Punjab on April 20, while SRH clash with the Delhi Daredevils on April 22.