CL T20: Sun rises for Hyderabad

Suyash Srivastava

Despite playing some competitive cricket in IPL 2012, Deccan Chargers found themselves second from the bottom in the points table. Their skipper Kumar Sangakkara had yet another poor season in the cash rich tournament and their form could be ascertained from the fact that they lost 11 out of the 16 matches they played in the tournament.

The team owners were finding it difficult to run the franchise as they put it up for sale and The Sun TV Network won the bid for the Hyderabad franchise, which was named the Sunrisers Hyderabad. While overseas players like Cameron White and Dale Steyn were performing well, Shikhar Dhawan’ s inconsistency was something that was hurting the team which was struggling.

But the change of name probably brought some fortune for the team as they did extremely well in IPL 2013. Amit Mishra, Thisara Perera and even Parthiv Patel, everybody made individual contributions as they entered the play-offs and ended up at number four in the points table. They are now looking a formidable side as everybody hailed their bowling attack which had the likes of Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Thisara Perera and Darren Sammy.

All they needed was an Indian batsman who could score for them on a consistent basis. And ever since Shikhar Dhawan slammed 187 runs against Australia at Mohali earlier this year, he has been that batsman. That innings has made him a lot more confident as he played fearless cricket in all formats of the game.

However, the Hyderabad team management was left midway when their regular skipper Kumar Sangakkara opted to play for his home side Kandurata Maroons in the tournament. It was to be seen how Dhawan – the skipper, would perform for the team. But Dhawan has led from the front in Champions League so far and has got his team to terrific starts on numerous occasions.

They might not be the most established batsmen in world cricket, but while Shikhar Dhawan has been in a purple patch since his Test debut against Australia, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel too has impressed everybody with his maturity in the shortest version of the game.

The Dhawan-led side was a force to reckon with in the qualifiers as they won their first two matches convincingly by seven wickets and eight wickets respectively. Even in the main draw, they have made an impact with their all-round show.

Dhawan and Patel have eased off the pressure from rest of the batsmen by stitching a strong opening partnership every now and then. While Dhawan scored 142 runs from three matches in the qualifiers, Patel on the other hand accumulated 89 runs from as many matches.

These two have added 35, 87 and 62 runs for the first wicket partnership in the three matches of the main draw. When Chennai Super Kings scored over 200 runs in the tenth match of the tournament, everybody predicted their comprehensive victory against Hyderabad.

But Dhawan and Patel once again rose to the occasion and sent the Chennai players on a leather hunt as they amassed 58 runs in the first six overs of power play. They went on to add 87 runs for the first wicket and even though they lost the match by 12 runs, they earned a lot of respect for putting up a neck-to-neck fight against a champion side.

Just like the Rajasthan Royals, even the Hyderabad outfit is slowly turning into a side which relies more on an all-round show than individual performances. While it is yet to be seen whether Sangakkara will lead the side in IPL 2014, Dhawan would be proud of the way they are improving as a unit with every new match, just like his own form.