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IPL Staff in Abu Dhabi 17 April 2014 - 10:35pm IST

Finch and I to open; Warner at No.3: Shikhar

SRH captain confirms top order; hopes for his pace attack to click

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.

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