The Sunrisers Hyderabad won their debut game 2 days ago with a 22-run victory over Pune Warriors India. That the victory came while defending a meagre total of 126 makes it even more noteworthy. Although the clash was billed as one between two teams largely expected to lag behind in the points table by the end of the IPL season, cricket is a funny game and funnier things have happened still. The Sunrisers only need to look back at IPL 2 for some inspiration where the erstwhile Deccan Chargers lifted the trophy after finishing at the bottom of the table in the inaugural edition.
The Sunrisers will be able to draw quite a few positives from the game including their stellar bowling performance led by Dale Steyn. The RCB line-up boasting of Gayle, Dilshan and Kohli – all of them potential match-winners – will be tested and at the same time, provide a sterner test for Steyn and co. too. The presence of Amit Mishra, who will be licking his lips again at the prospect of bowling on the sluggish Uppal track, has the ability to make the RCB middle-order look more ordinary than it actually is. The rest of the bowlers, including the erratic Cameron White might be a concern for Sangakkara.
A late-innings fightback, fuelled by Thisara Perera’s explosive batting saved the face of the Sunrisers’ batting to a large extent. The absence of any big Indian name in the batting department and moderately skilled local talent is bound to produce lacklustre starts as was seen in their opening game. Whether they can improve their batting will determine if they can improve their chances in the matches to come. Against an attack comprising Muralitharan, Karthik and Vinay Kumar, which looks better than what Pune Warriors India had put forward, their batting will be under greater pressure.