Sunrisers getting into the groove

The last year’s winner, Sunrisers Hyderabad is one among the three teams--the other two teams being Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders--that figures in the top half of the table with four wins and eight points from half a dozen matches and on Saturday it would complete its half-way stage locking horns with Rising Pune Supergiant.

On current form, Sunrisers seems to have the edge   -  AFP

The time has arrived for a handful of teams that have notched impressive victories in the last fornight of the IPL10 to take their game plan to the next level, win more matches in order to secure berths in the play offs.

The last year’s winner, Sunrisers Hyderabad is one among the three teams--the other two teams being Mumbai Indians and Kolkata knight Riders--that figures in the top half of the table with four wins and eight points from half a dozen matches and on Saturday it would complete its half-way stage locking horns with Rising Pune Supergiant for the first time in this year’s league.

On current form, the Sunrisers--especially with majority of its batsmen in the top half ready to throw down the gauntlet straightaway and score heavily --- seem to have the edge; after two back to back defeats against KKR and MI, David Warner’s team got back to the winning ways against Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils. Warner has shown good form making 239 and Shikhar Dhawan, 205.

It was riding on New Zealand’s Kane Williamson’s 51-ball 89 though that the Sunrisers set a formidable target of 192 and got the better of the Daredevils by 15 runs, two days ago. The IPL rule of allowing teams to field only four overseas players have made things that much tough for captains and team managements, but Warner wrote Williamson’s name for the first time in playing XI against the Daredevils, and the New Zealander who has played 39 Twenty20 bilateral internationals, the fourth New Zealander behind Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor showed his class. This is Williamson’s third season in IPL and it’s hard to believe that such a highly gifted batsmen has just played nine matches.

After turning out to be the key wicket taker for Sunrisers, Afghan leg spinner Rashid Khan has made way for the crafty seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar to come into his own, lead the bowling honours list with 15 wickets and take the Purple Cap. “Kane made an impact in his first game for us. He and Shikhar built us a platform. Bhuvi was all class. I know I can bank on him,’’ said Warner after his team’s fourth win.

The home team has leaned heavily on skipper Steve Smith (180 runs), Ajinkya Rahane (119) and Ben Stokes (100). The local talent, Rahul Tripathi, has grabbed his chances and caught the attention of the discerning with the fearless stroke play. Stokes won the first IPL Man of the Match against Royal Challengers Bangalore with a 3 for 18 effort; there was support for him from Mumbai seamer, Shardul Thakur, Saurashtra’s Jaydev Unadkat and leg spinner Imran Tahir. It would up to this bowling pack to restrict the Sunrisers and deliver another win for the Supergiant.