Before the commencement of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), the thought of Jonny Bairstow and David Warner reuniting at Sunrisers Hyderabad would have been one to savour. In IPL12, the pair tore up opposition bowling attacks with a series of wonderful partnerships: four centuries and three over fifty runs.
This year, the combination has been less aggressive so far with 42 runs from two innings. Next up are the unbeaten Delhi Capitals and the Hyderabad franchise will be looking for a return to form.
Bairstow and Warner opened together for the first time in the IPL just eighteen months ago, where they started the tournament with partnerships of 118,110 and 185. The international superstars have not recreated their dynamic relationship yet in the current IPL season. The prolonged cricket layoff, due to COVID-19, may be a factor in this.
Although Bairstow saw action for England, Warner has had to wait until this month to play first-class cricket. Australia’s white-ball tour of England was the only chance for the Australian to get out into the middle.
Despite being so prolific together, Warner and Bairstow have been on the winning side for Hyderabad on only five occasions from 12 matches. Even their first century partnership, against the Kolkata Knight Riders, was not good enough to see their team win the game.
If Hyderabad is to win games in IPL13, they need their openers to set up a stable platform. The two opening games have seen two defeats for the team; the openers are not solely to blame, but losing wickets early is not a good thing in cricket.
Both batters are dynamic when they do get going, and Bairstow (9.13) and Warner (8.53) have good runs per over statistics and will score heavily if they are not removed.
Bairstow averages 51.10 in the IPL whereas Warner averages 61.60 when batting with his English counterpart (against an overall IPL batting average of 42.77). Bairstow scored 61 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore before losing his wicket at a critical time.
Click here to check IPL standings.
Warner has been slower to score. He looked more comfortable against the Kolkata Knight Riders but succumbed to a caught and bowled chance before he could make his mark. Like Bairstow’s dismissal, his team needed him to stay at the crease.
The next IPL match: Delhi Capitals
Next up for Hyderabad are the Delhi Capitals, who are currently top of the table with two wins from two games. Delhi will provide another tough challenge; another defeat would leave Hyderabad struggling for points and confidence. Both Warner and Bairstow average over 40 against the Capitals, and both will be looking to improve on that.
The game is being played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, where Hyderabad was defeated by Kolkata the last time around. A total above 170 seems to be the target based on previous matches. Warner complained that his team offered up too many dot balls against Kolkata so expect Hyderabad to play more attacking cricket against Delhi.
The Capitals have not played in Abu Dhabi yet, so Hyderabad will feel that they have a slight advantage having experienced the conditions.
The Capitals may target Bairstow early on in his innings. Pat Cummins bowled the Englishman with a beautiful delivery and Delhi may well bowl a similar line and length. In Kagiso Rabada, they have a quality bowler, who can exploit any movement from the pitch.
Bairstow has been bowled out twice in this year’s IPL. The first time was by Yuzvendra Chahal (RCB) and highlighted a potential weakness of Bairstow’s. In ten IPL dismissals, Bairstow has lost his wicket to spin on eight occasions, so Delhi should get Axar Patel into the attack against Bairstow at the earliest opportunity. Patel has already provided two excellent spells for Delhi.
Overall, Bairstow and Warner’s perceived lack of form is more about having set the bar so high last year than having a fundamental problem this year. However, the pressure of the IPL can soon cause the smallest of cracks to blow wide open.
If Hyderabad beat the Capitals due to a large partnership from the two overseas openers, then the lens will move elsewhere. If not, then Hyderabad is in trouble and confidence will be low.Published 29 Sep 2020, 15:05 IST