Team mentor and former India international VVS Laxman revealed after the game against Mumbai Indians that T Natarajan had a niggle in his left knee which kept him from featuring. Laxman also said that the franchise's medical team will soon assess and decide on the extent of the injury.
"Unfortunately, Natarajan had a niggle in his left knee and that's why he was ruled out and that's why we went with Khaleel Ahmed who is also a left-arm seamer...We are going to assess the condition of Natarajan and I am sure the medical staff of the Sunrisers will take the right decision which will be beneficial for him and the franchise."
David Warner stunningly announced four changes to the SRH lineup, with T Natarajan's exclusion being the most surprising. Even after the massive rejigs, the same story was repeated for the team as they failed in yet another chase in Chennai.
This time they were set a target of 151 by the Rohit Sharma-led outfit. David Warner and Jonny Bairstow made the perfect start in response, notching an unbeaten stand of 67 runs. However, the papery middle-order again crumbled under pressure and the batting lineup was bundled for just 137.
VVS Laxman is impressed with T Natarajan's replacement Khaleel Ahmed
Khaleel Ahmed, who made his India debut before T Natarajan, played the game as a like-for-like replacement for the pacer. The 23-year-old went bowled a frugal spell, conceding just 24 runs off his four overs and taking the wicket of Hardik Pandya in the slog overs.
VVS Laxman expressed his delight with how the pacer used his variations and pace. He further remarked that Ahmed's bowling bodes well for SRH.
"I was very impressed with the way he bowled. In his first game of the season, he assessed the conditions really well and used a lot of his variations along with extracting a lot of pace and bounce off the surface. So a lot of positives [to take] for SRH from the way Khaleel Ahmed bowled."
SRH remains the only team without a win in IPL 2021. They will play their next game at the same venue against Punjab Kings on April 21.