IPL 2018: Williamson praises spinners; Rahane rues lack of partnerships

Victorious captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kane Williamson, heaped praise on Rashid Khan and Shakib-Al-Hasan while Ajinkya Rahane regretted the lack of partnerships in the middle-overs.

Shakib-Al-Hasan and Rashid Khan restricted Royals to a modest total.   -  AP

Victorious captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kane Williamson, said he was delighted to step in and ensure a winning start to Hyderabad's campaign in the absence of tainted Australian batsman David Warner.

"David (Warner) is a huge player, a tremendous captain. A huge loss and I don't think anyone can replace him. He has been such a quality player at the highest level and especially in the IPL in the last few seasons," Williamson said after Sun Risers beat Rajasthan Royals in its season opener here on Monday night.

READ: IPL 2018: Dhawan and Williamson overwhelm Royals

"Well, David's absence was one of the reasons we opted for (Wriddhiman) Saha at the top. He is a fantastic player too. In fact, we are all looking forward to keeping the momentum going," he said.

Asked whether Shikhar Dhawan - who scored a breezy half-century - was instructed to play more aggressively in the absence of Warner, Williamson put it down to the southpaw's usual belligerence at the top.

"The two spinners Rashid Khan and Shakib-Al-Hasan, I think, bowled beautifully, picking wickets which is more important for us than merely containing the batsmen," he felt.

Lack of partnerships

For his part, Rajasthan captain Ajinkya Rahane rued the lack of good partnerships in the middle-overs. "We badly needed one big partnership and one of the batsmen to last through the innings," he said.

"I think Sunrisers pacers Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and (Siddharth) Kaul exploited the help which the pitch provided. But I must say we kept losing crucial wickets in the middle overs," he said.

"Yes, Kaul bowled well, hit the length hard, mixed the slower ones effectively," he added.

While Rahane admitted that the team will miss Australia batsman Steve Smith's services, he emphasised the importance of team effort. "It is all about how we all contribute as a team for a winning cause," he said.