After a spectacular collapse in which Sunrisers Hyderabad went from needing 27 runs from 24 balls with seven wickets in hand to losing by 12 runs against Kings XI Punjab, David Warner said his batsmen had been “complacent” in the middle overs.
The Sunrisers bowlers had restricted Kings XI to 126 for 7 on a slow, turning pitch in Dubai, and Warner himself provided a fast start in the chase, smashing 35 off 20. When he was the first wicket to fall after the powerplay, the Sunrisers needed 71 runs from 83 balls. But a middle-overs strangle meant they were eventually bowled out for 114 in 19.5 overs.
“In regards to our batting, obviously very disappointed,” Warner said at the post-match press conference. “We didn’t get the job done. We were probably a bit complacent in the middle. We didn’t take the game on enough like we did the previous game (their victory against the Rajasthan Royals). I think we probably just felt that we were just 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 your opposition a sniff it can get taken away from you very fast.”
Warner felt the batsmen should have assessed the conditions better and looked to play sensibly, especially with the required rate below six.
He was fulsome in his praise for the bowlers, however, having pulled Kings XI back from their own brisk start.
“I think our bowlers did an incredible job to bowl them out [restrict them] for under 130,” Warner said. “I felt that they did an exceptional job through the middle period to take wickets and to use the pitch to their advantage. I think in previous games we probably didn’t do that as well as we would have liked [with the ball], and today was a special day for them.”
Warner himself adopted a changed approach while batting. In IPL 2020 so far, he had played more of an anchor role for the Sunrisers, averaging 37.22 before this game but at a strike rate of 124.07, well below his career strike rate. However, on Saturday he went hard at the bowling from the start, judging that it was the best time to score runs on this pitch.
“Yeah, I was going back to my old-school days,” he said with a hint of a smile. “I was opening my front leg 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 try and go after it, go after their main bowler who swings the ball and is a very good bowler – [Mohammed] Shami. So I just tried to apply a little bit of pressure. And yeah, it’s fair to say that I’ve probably been quite reserved the last few years, so it was nice to open the front leg and show that I’ve still got that.”
The Sunrisers have eight points with only three games in hand – and those are against the three teams currently at the top of the table: the Delhi Capitals, the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Mumbai Indians. They will not only have to win those for a realistic shot at making the playoffs, but will also probably depend on net run rate to go through.
“I would like to think that the team will do that, definitely,” Warner said. “We’ve got three challenging games coming up, one here and two in Sharjah. If you want to win the tournament, you’ve got to beat the top three teams and that’s what we face in our next assignment.”