For an apparently insatiable appetite for runs and then getting them with an amazing calmness and alluring style, look no further than Virat Kohli in IPL 2016. In the last week (April 17-24), Kohli has scores of 79, 33, 80 and 100* – his first hundred in T20 cricket – while being a treat to watch. But look beyond those dazzling numbers and there is a stark fact: under Kohli, RCB have lost three of four IPL matches this past week.
Now look at another IPL captain who opens the batting for his franchise, David Warner. In the same time, the Australian has made 90*, 74* and 59 to contribute to a hat-trick of wins for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Warner has been at the top of SRH’s resurgence from two consecutive defeats, and that’s why he’s our Player of the Week.
On March 18, SRH played Mumbai Indians. They had been beaten in both matches and were languishing at the bottom of the IPL points table. Warner has spoken of how he needed to perform, even though he’d made 58 in the first match. Chasing 143, SRH cantered home in 17.3 overs forth loss of three wickets. Warner remained not out on 90 off 59 balls. The other contributions were 2, 20, 11 and 17*. Talk about shoring up the batting. Warner was a shoo-in for Man of the Match.
Next came Gujarat Lions, who were kept to 135/8. That turned into a ten-wicket hammering, with Warner hitting an unbeaten 74 off 48 balls in a partnership of 137 in 14.5 overs with Shikhar Dhawan (53*). Two in two, and SRH were moving in the right direction.
On Saturday, more good work in the field set SRH a target of 144 to beat Kings XI Punjab. They won by five wickets in 17.5 overs, with Warner’s contribution being 59 from 31 balls. When he was out off the last ball of the tenth over, SRH were 90/1.
On the back of their skipper’s red-hot form, SRH currently occupy fourth spot on the IPL 9 leaderboard, joint with Delhi Daredevils on six points and just two shy of toppers Kolkata Knight Riders and Gujarat.
Despite Kohli’s effortless batting and volume of runs, for his contribution to three wins it is Warner who is our stand-out performer of the week.