Another typical performance by the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) that defined nobody better than themselves, saw them extend their unbeaten run to three games in the tournament after claiming their maiden victory at the Eden Gardens against Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Orange Army applied their tried and tested formula of opting to bowl after winning the toss, stifling down oppositions to meagre totals with their accurate bowling and then completing the smooth ride by chasing down the target without too much fuss.
With little question over their potency in bowling, what surprised everybody was Hyderabad’s fielding upgrade, especially after having an ordinary day in the field couple of nights ago against the Mumbai Indians, where they put down few relatively simple chances. However, on Saturday, the visiting side put on a spectacle pulling off some unreal catches.
The players threw themselves on the ground multiple times to save runs and take blinders that would feature in tournament's highlight reel. Manish Pandey displayed his athleticism first to save six at long on and then he clung on to a breathtaking catch at point to dismiss Nitish Rana. He took another screamer while running back to send the dangerous Andre Russell back. Both the catches gave Billy Stanlake his two wickets and prompted the Aussie to say, "Think I should buy Manish some beers after this," while receiving the Man of the Match award. Captain Kane Williamson too fell, rolled and tumbled to claim a catch, Deepak Hooda almost stole the show when he put an acrobatic effort at the cover boundary but just came in contact with the ropes while trying to release the ball. Even the likes of Stanlake, Yusuf Pathan dived around to save runs in the field.
The enhancement in their overall fielding was a testament to Hyderabad's constantly improving attitude. It also reflects how the backroom staff led by coach Tom Moody addressed the area where the team lacked and worked on to fine tune it in the next game.
The team that doesn’t simply rely on few of big names showcased their cohesiveness as a group and appetite to win games collectively. Not difficult to imagine that there will days ahead in the tournament when their bowlers have an off day and it will be their batsmen who will step up.
Another positive apart from their fielding and bowling was to see skipper Williamson among runs around whom the team's batting revolved. Former Knight Rider Shakib Al Hasan enjoyed a good day at the office as well, with an all-round performance, picking two wickets – including a superb return catch – with the ball and with also with the bat as he forged an important fourth-wicket stand with the Kiwi that turned out to be the decisive partnership in the chase.
Despite crossing the finishing line with relative ease, Hyderabad's batting is something that can be bettered. The ghosts of the Mumbai game from two nights ago must have resurfaced among Hyderabad faithful after the departure of Williamson in the 18th over, but Yusuf ensured there wasn’t any last-minute hiccup as he slammed 17 runs off seven balls, finishing the tie with a six.
Hyderabad side wasn’t able to put the game to bed as it extended unnecessarily to the 19th over. They would ideally want to close out games earlier than the ones wherein they end up chewing out their fingernails, so finishing off the matches is something they would want to focus on in the upcoming games. Still, early days but they would be hoping to see Pandey, on whom they spent a fortune on, come good with the bat.
While they have most of their bases covered, there are few facets of their play which Hyderabad would want to calibrate going ahead.