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IPL 2018 Preview: Sunrisers Hyderabad seek to bounce back in clash against CSK

Sunrisers Hyderabad began their IPL campaign with three wins on the trot before they were stopped on their tracks by West Indian swashbuckler Chris Gayle.


April 21, 2018 7:49:59 pm
Sunrisers Hyderabad aptain Kane Williamson Kane Williamson will lead SRH against CSK. (Source: PTI)

Their unbeaten run in the tournament snapped by the ‘Gayle Storm’, Sunrisers Hyderabad would look to bounce back when they take on Chennai Super Kings in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Sunday.

Both the Sunrisers and the Super Kings have six points each from four matches, having lost just one game so far, and a win by either side at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium at Uppal will take them to the top of the table.

The Sunrisers began their IPL campaign with three wins on the trot before they were stopped on their tracks by West Indian swashbuckler Chris Gayle, who played a special innings of 104 not out off 64 balls at Mohali on Thursday.

The Kane Willamson-led side will have to forget the battering of his bowlers by Gayle and quickly regroup against the Super Kings who, despite having to shift their home venue to Pune due to the Cauvery water dispute, have been doing very well.

After winning their first two matches, the Super Kings slumped to a defeat against Kings XI Punjab before bouncing back with a 64-run win over Rajasthan Royals yesterday on the back of smashing century (106 from 57 balls) from veteran Australian Shane Watson.

Watson has been in fine touch with both the bat and ball, thereby proving his utility as a top-class all-rounder. He is currently the top scorer and top wicket-taker for CSK but tomorrow he will be up against one of the most balanced sides in this IPL.

All the front line bowlers of the Sunrisers — Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddhart Kaul, Billy Stanlake and Shakib-al-Hasan — have been among the top wicket takers so far this season though young Afghan spinner Rashid Khan is struggling a bit with just three wickets from four matches. He was taken to the cleaners by Gayle in their last match, conceding 55 runs for one wicket.

Kaul has six wickets while Kumar, Stanlake and Shakib have taken five wickets each.

For CSK, Watson is the top bowler with six wickets to his name. Man to man, the Sunrisers have been a better side in the bowling department. In fact, they are touted as the most balanced bowling unit of this IPL.

In the batting department, the Super Kings have a lot of depth. They have batsmen who can play shots well up to the number seven spot. Watson has been leading the charge but Ambati Rayudu and captain and stalwart Mahendra Singh Dhoni are also doing a decent job with the bat.

But Englishman Sam Billings and West Indian Dwayne Bravo have not done much after hitting a half century each, and both would be looking to do better, going ahead.

For the Sunrisers, Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan are the main batsmen in their side. They have been playing that role very well so far though Dhawan had to retire hurt in their last match against Kings XI Punjab after being hit by the ball on his elbow.

Bhuvi credits experience, better fitness for improvement

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has become a vital cog in the wheel for whichever team he plays, and the India and Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer says experience and superior fitness have made him an improved bowler. Bhuvneshwar, who made his ODI and T20 debut in 2012, has so far grabbed 90 wickets in 86 ODIs and 28 wickets in 26 T20s and has become the go-to man for skipper Virat Kohli.

“The big change is experience, learning the things. At any stage, initially, you don’t know much about those places or that environment, so (when) you keep playing you get to know, what the things are like there. Nothing is easy. So, yes experience – which I have gained over the last two-three years – really improved me as a bowler,” the 28-year-old Meerut born player said. “And the other thing is fitness, the foremost thing which can keep you going for so many years,” he said.

Asked whether he got any tips or advice from anybody, he said, “No, nothing, no special thing. I have been working in general, the way you do – match practise, fitness drills and individual skill – there is nothing special.”

The swing bowler said there was “commitment to improve my fitness and improve as a bowler”.

Bhuvneshwar, who is at ease bowling at the start and even in the death overs in white ball cricket, says that bowling at any point in T20 format is difficult. “It is difficult to bowl any over, doesn’t (matter) whether it’s the first six overs or the last four overs. Wherever you bowl in this (T20) format, it is very difficult.

“If you don’t do a good planning or if you don’t have a good strategy it (will) always be difficult, because there is power-play with only two fielders outside the circle, so good chances of you getting hit for runs. It is all about pure strategy, planning and execution,” he said.

He also admitted that things have gone the SRH way in the current edition of the IPL, where they have won three of the first four games. “So far it’s been good. It has been the start of the tournament, almost everything went our way. Of the four matches (played so far), we have lost only one. So far I am pretty confident as a bowler and looking forward to the next (set of) matches.”

Bhuvneshwar also praised captaincy of New Zealander Kane Williamson. “He has always been a good captain, he has captained New Zealand for many years and has been successful. He is a calm guy, so whatever situation comes, he thinks calmly about that and you can see the results in the first three matches. He loves to keep simple,” he added.

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