IPL 2022: Can Sunrisers draw inspiration from their impressive win over CSK?

The fact that star overseas batsmen Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran weren't needed to face a ball shows how comprehensive SRH's win was



T Natarajan was particularly impressive, getting the ball to swing late both ways and firing in yorkers with pinpoint accuracy. (BCCI)
T Natarajan was particularly impressive, getting the ball to swing late both ways and firing in yorkers with pinpoint accuracy. (BCCI)

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Mon 11 Apr 2022, 12:39 AM

Sunrisers Hyderabad, looking terribly short on talent and motivation in their first two games, succeeded in breaking free from haplessness with a splendid all-round performance that helped them beat defending champions Chennai Super Kings.

While it is true that CSK have been mired in mediocrity so far, credit for SRH cannot be diluted on that score. At no stage of the match did they look like the underdogs. The bowling was sharp and probing. T Natarajan was particularly impressive, getting the ball to swing late both ways and firing in yorkers with pinpoint accuracy, allowing CSK’s batsmen little leeway to play strokes.

The bowlers, handled superbly by skipper Kane Williamson, received energetic support in the field, and CSK were restricted to a modest score which the SRH top order chased down in flamboyant style through free-flowing Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi.

The fact that star overseas batsmen Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran weren’t needed to face a ball shows how comprehensive SRH’s win was.

After two disappointing defeats, SRH finally looked seriously competitive — even though they are still short of the prowess that made them title winners in 2016.

An evident shortcoming is the absence of a quality spinner to support Washington Sundar. Young Abdul Samad, who bowls some leg-spin, didn’t play the previous match and Williamson had to use Markram’s part-time off-spin to fill the void. That might not always pay dividends.

Overall, though, the team which took the field against CSK looked to have good batting depth. If and if the top order plays, with Williamson, Pooran and Markram making substantial contributions, SRH will be troublesome opponents for all teams in the tournament.

Monday’s match against Gujarat Titans is crucial in the context of their campaign this season. It will show whether SRH have the wherewithal to sustain winning momentum. It will be a tough test. Though the Titans are new entrants in the IPL, they’ve been hugely impressive from the start and are the only unbeaten team so far this season, winning three matches on the trot, two of them from difficult situations.

In their opening match, the Titans turned the tables on the other new entrants, Lucknow Super Giants, chasing down the target in a late order flourish when everything looked lost. Victory against the Punjab Kings last week was even more dramatic as Rahul Tewatia hit sixes off the final two deliveries of the innings to take his team over the line.

Gujarat have been exciting to watch, but more importantly, also successful in winning matches. Tewatia is a maverick of sorts, but there are quite a few others who too play with panache and flair.

Openers Shubman Gill and Matthew Wade have renowned match-winning abilities. Then David Miller and Hardik Pandya are proven finishers.

Pandya, in fact, has been batting at no. 4, as captain, taking on the responsibility to anchor the innings if needed. He has also been bowling his full quota of overs, which boosts the all-round strength of the team. The bowling attack also features Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Tewatia and the inimitable Rashid Khan who till last season was SRH’s talismanic player.

Beating this strong Gujarat side is a tall order.

But if SRH manage to do so, it will open up the tournament to intriguing possibilities going ahead.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator


More news from Cricket