Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner rued his side’s lack of intensity in the middle-overs versus Punjab as, chasing 127, SRH slipped to an inexplicable 12-run defeat despite having raced off to 52/0 inside the powerplay. Warner analyzed that the batters simply did not rotate strike enough.
The victory versus Rajasthan - where they successfully chased 155 - was seen as a morale boost for Sunrisers Hyderabad, not just because they managed to do the job, but because they did so despite both David Warner and Jonny Bairstow failing. So on Saturday, as both openers walked back to the pavilion with SRH needing 69 off 12.3 overs, the Orange Army were fairly confident that the game was in the bag. However, as has been the case with the middle-order since the start of the IPL 2018 season, what was on display was a horror show as after collecting just 28 runs between overs 10 and 15, the SRH batsmen lost their last 7 wickets for 14 runs to slump to a shock 12-run defeat.
Speaking in the post match press conference, a fuming David Warner loathed the lack of intent showed by the SRH batters during the middle overs, where Punjab’s leg-spinners where allowed to dominate the contest.
"It was very disappointing. Obviously we didn't get the job done, probably complacent in the middle (overs), we didn't take the game on enough like we did in the previous game. I think we probably felt that we were going to get the runs easily, and then we sort of let the balls get ahead of the runs. That's what happens in a game of cricket. If you give the opposition a sniff, it (the game) can get taken from you very fast," Warner said in the post match press conference.
SRH’s innings progression was not too different from that of Punjab as KL Rahul’s side, too, after getting off to a decent start, only managed 46 off their last 7 overs to scamper to a mediocre total of 126. The advantage Sunrisers had over Punjab was that they knew exactly what to do, and Warner claimed that in the middle, the SRH batsmen simply did not manipulate the field enough to keep the scoreboard ticking. Both Pandey and Shankar, who stitched a 33-run partnership in 44 balls, were guilty of not killing off the chase at the right time.
"It (pitch) slowed down but the outfield got very wet. So from that point of view, you should know, as a batter, some of the conditions. The ball was going to be slow off the wicket, so you just have to assess that. Hard lengths were obviously going to be hard to hit. When you're chasing a total that's very achievable and you are ahead in the game, you should be able to manipulate the field, rotate strike, get ones - we just didn't do that,” said the SRH skipper.
The only takeaway for SRH in the chase was the form of Warner, who unleashed his older, more aggressive self in the powerplay to take the game to Punjab. The southpaw took the initiative and raced off to 31 off 18 inside the first six before the KXIP bowlers could blink. The 33-year-old admitted that he consciously went back to his ‘old-school days’ and thwarted the new-ball bowlers, and asserted that he was happy to show people that he still had it.
"I was going back to my old school days. I was opening my front legs and just taking on the powerplay. Something I haven't done for a long time. It's one of those things where I felt that the best part of the powerplay was to go after their main bowler who swings the ball, and he is a very good bowler, is Shami. So I just tried to apply a bit of pressure. Yeah, it's fair to say that I've probably been quite reserved (with the batting) in the last few years. So it was nice to open the front leg and show that I've still got that.”
Saturday’s results means that SRH will have to rely on other results in order to get to the playoffs for the fifth season running.