The duel within the battle


Hyderabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad might have pulled off a convincing victory against Pune Warriors on their league debut, but the weak area that showed up could leave them gasping against the mighty Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday.

The new franchise can boast of one of the strongest pace attacks in the tournament but their batting line-up looks far from impressive. Even on paper, it doesn't evoke confidence.

The absence of opener Shikhar Dhawan for the first fortnight due to a hand injury and West Indies skipper Darren Sammy's unavailability for a week has made matters worse. Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera and skipper Kumar Sangakkara are the only names that add weight to the middle-order. But Sangakkara, who had a poor run last season, made only 15 on Friday that did not suggest he has recovered from the slump.

Australia's T20 specialist Cameron White also failed with the bat against the Warriors and it was their bowling that saved the day for the Sunrisers. But winning with half a team will not be an option against the RCB, who pulled off a close win over Mumbai Indians. BIG BATTLE Chris Gayle and Sunrisers' spearhead Dale Steyn set up a mouth-watering contest after match-winning efforts in their respective opening games.

While Gayle largely determined RCB's fortunes last season, Steyn was the driving force in every victory the former Hyderabad franchise, Deccan Chargers, had in 2012. But it was Steyn who won their duel the last time and brought the formidable batting line-up to its knees at the same venue.

The Chargers were restricted to 132 in a match where RCB needed victory to qualify for the knockout stages. But Steyn dismissed Gayle as RCB failed to overhaul the modest total and were knocked out.

Sunrisers mentor Kris Srikkanth admitted the batting concerns. "We are looking at batting as we could have easily got another 15-20 runs." However, the former India opener felt it was too early to term Sunrisers as a team too dependent on their bowlers. "It's wrong to judge on the basis of one game. We have a lot of good batsmen and it will start happening one by one."

Hyderabad though will be heartened by the fact that lopsided line-up have done well, the big example having come in the inaugural edition when Shane Warne led Rajasthan Royals' bunch of rookies to the title.

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