With just over a month left to the World Cup, David Warner, making a second start to his comeback in top-level cricket after serving his a one-year ban, smashed a 53-ball 85 playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2019. In what was their first match of the season, Warner smashed nine fours and three sixes. It was his 37th IPL fifty, the highest by any batsman in the history of the tournament.
It was announced at the beginning of the match that captain Kane Williamson will not be playing and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead the side in his absence. Warner opened the batting with Jonny Bairstow. It didn’t take long for him to get going. While there were no boundaries in the first over, Warner hit his first four of the tournament off Piyush Chawla, flicked the next ball to midwicket for a dot and then hit a four again to get going.
There was a farcical LBW review against him in that over with the ball pitching well outside the line. Bairstow took time to settle in but Warner was on the bowlers throughout his innings. Dinesh Karthik threw in Andre Russell, Kuldeep Yadav and Lockie Ferguson at him apart from Chawla but their were all at the receiving end of the former Australian vice-captain’s fury.
CricViz data said that Warner attacked 73 percent of the deliveries which is much higher than his career average of 61 percent. Out of the 85 runs he scored, 37 was powered through the squarish offside area. There were many shots that reached the boundary because they were impossible to field due to the power with which he hit them. Sunil Narine tried to get in the way of one of those. The ball was past him before his hand came down completely and ended up flicking a fingernail on the way.
Warner could not stick around for the last five overs though, largely thanks to a brilliant catch by Robin Uthappa at cover. It was the last ball of the 16th over bowled by Andre Russell and Warner drove it powerfully without moving an inch. It was another good shot and looked destined to reach the boundary but Uthappa dove to his left and plucked the ball from just above the ground. Warner missed out on his fourth IPL century by 15 runs.
SRH tapered off after that wicket and Russell went on to dismiss Yusuf Pathan in his next over. However, Vijay Shankar played a few shots and pushed SRH’s total to 181/3.