David Warner’s best position in the shortest format of the game has been hotly debated. The Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper had mostly opened in T20s until Australia’s tour of South Africa earlier this year. In the World T20 too he was not given an opening role, with Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch being the preferred choices.
The switch didn’t pay dividends as he managed just 38 runs in four innings while Australia crashed out in the group stage itself. Australia skipper Steve Smith even went as far as admitting recently that the team had erred by sending Warner so low down the order.
Warner’s performances in the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will have dispelled any debate about the left-hander’s best position. The 29-year-old has been in rampaging form this season, scoring 640 runs in 13 innings, including seven half-centuries.
On Friday too, the opener was the sole bright spot for Hyderabad, scoring 73 off 56 balls as the rest of his team crumbled against Delhi Daredevils at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium in Naya Raipur.
The Australian displayed both his attacking side and his anchoring abilities when required. In the first six overs, with Shikhar Dhawan playing the anchor role, Warner cut loose, targetting Delhi’s spinner Jayant Yadav, who was handed the second over of the match. With Yadav’s first six balls fetching nine runs, the ball was handed to Nathan Coulter-Nile. The 28-year-old Australian fared even worse, going for 15 runs.
This IPL has been one where openers have held sway. Be it Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Virat Kohli or Rising Pune Supergiants’ Ajinkya Rahane or Mumbai Indians’ Rohit Sharma or Kolkata Knight Riders’ Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, players opening the batting have excelled giving their team . However, barring Kohli, none has come even close to being as consistent as Warner.
On Friday, with Dhawan and Deepak Hooda both returning to the pavilion due to run outs in five balls, Warner showed just how good he can be at changing gears. In the early part of his innings, he had stepped out to attack bowlers. After the second wicket, he knuckled down, preferring to rotate the strike.
Unfortunately, his teammates let him down as Hyderabad’s innings folded at 158.
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