IPL 2019: How SRH's NRR got a boost thanks to David Warner and Jonny Bairstow
In IPL 2019, Sunrisers Hyderabad became the first team in the history of the tournament to qualify for the playoffs with 12 points. That is the lowest number of points ever for a team in the top four of the points table.
Yes, they had to depend on other results; in particular, they needed KKR to lose their last match, and that's what happened. It was not all luck though. The reason SRH qualified was because of their superior net run rate.
The Hyderabad-based franchise won the games they won by a significant margin. And when they were on the losing side, they lost in close encounters, which didn't derail their NRR.
The players SRH need to thank for this are Jonny Bairstow and David Warner, who ensured, whether chasing or batting first, that the scoreboard always kept moving at a fast clip. The pair put on four hundred-plus partnerships together, with three of those partnerships leading to wins - against RR, RCB and KKR.
The number of runs scored combined with the rate at which the pair got the runs helped SRH maintain a healthy NRR.
In the first win of the season, Warner and Bairstow put up a 110-run stand in just 9.4 overs in a chase of 199 runs, against the Rajasthan Royals. The partnership set the tone for the chase and allowed SRH to win the game with an over to spare, which rarely happens in pursuit of a score close to 200.
Against RCB, the dynamic duo put on a breathtaking 185-run partnership in 16.2 overs as they annihilated the bowling and stamped their authority on the match. This particular partnership allowed SRH to reach their highest score of the season, 231.
With the bowlers doing their job brilliantly SRH won the match by a whopping 118 runs. This sort of margin is rare in the IPL, and it was the biggest reason why SRH had such a high NRR throughout the tournament.
Against the league leaders at the time, CSK, Warner and Bairstow smashed 66 runs in just 5.4 overs which set the platform for SRH to chase down the required 133 in just 16.5 overs.
The pair's final heroic partnership came against KKR at home as they posted 131 in just 12.2 overs. SRH ended up chasing 160 in just 15 overs, which is remarkable to say the least.
Both Bairstow and Warner had to leave the IPL early due to international duties. But the pair still managed to score a staggering 1,137 runs combined.
Warner played a couple more games than Bairstow. And one of his crucial contributions came against Punjab last week where his 81 off 56 balls helped SRH in posting a target of 212, which they defended by 45 runs.
As you can see, the margins of victory were massive for SRH. At the same time, when they lost, they made sure they took it to the end and reduced the margin of defeat, which meant the NRR wasn't too negatively impacted.
You almost never have a team finishing on 12 points and qualifying. But with the help of other results and the clinical performances from their openers, SRH managed to sneak through in the end, qualifying for the playoffs for the fourth season in a row.
Credit must also go to the rest of the team and the coaching staff. It was Tom Moody and the think-tank who decided to buy Bairstow despite already having the likes of Warner and Williamson in the team.
When you look at the SRH batting order, the first thought that comes to mind is that it is top heavy. But when your top performs with such aplomb and consistency, then the weight becomes unbearable for opposition teams.
SRH's qualification is a good lesson for all teams: don't take any match lightly, and when you are in a winning position make sure you seize the initiative and wrap up the game pronto. For as we saw this season, NRR can be the difference between the playoffs and a flight back home.
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