Critical game for Hyderabad

The Sunrisers need a win against the all-powerful Chennai.

Consider a bowling attack that has the most lethal fast bowler in the world, a pacer who releases the ball from a height of more than eight feet, a wily leg-spinner with three hat-tricks behind him, and a domestic slow bowler eager to make an impact and two international all-rounders adept at mixing up their deliveries.

Now deliberate the fact that this bunch, coached by one of the great swing bowlers of all time, has been the most economical in the Indian Twenty20 league and you will understand why despite being low on star quotient, Sunrisers Hyderabad have been able to punch above their weight and stay in the tight bunch behind leaders Chennai Super Kings, on 14 points.

Low on scoring

On the flipside, Sunrisers have also been one of the lower scoring teams in this league. However, coach Tom Moody still wants to give his batsmen more time. "We recognised that while on the one hand the bowlers have been very good, the reason being the surfaces we have been playing on, on the other hand it has been quite challenging for batsmen. So, we can't have both our batsmen at the top of the run-scoring table and our bowlers at the top as well," he said on the eve of the match against Chennai Super Kings.

Sunrisers can take heart from the precedence set by defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders, who were always a better bowling unit than batting in the previous edition.

Inspiring bowling

Among their top six bowlers, Thisara Perera is the most expensive with an economy rate of 7.51, followed by Ishant Sharma at just over 7. But the rest are well below 6.5, with Dale Steyn and leggie Karan Sharma averaging 5.93 and 5.59 respectively. Amit Mishra, who has taken 17 wickets and is the only bowler to have taken three hattricks in this tournament, has an enviable strike rate of 14.4.

What has given them an extra edge is the expertise of Waqar Younis. A brilliant exponent of the reverse swing, few have better knowledge about subcontinent wickets than him.

"Waqar has been a great asset to us," said Moody. "He has been a great help to both the playing squad and the support staff and has passed on a lot of wisdom to the players. You have to adjust the way you play and the way you bowl, and till now has worked very well."

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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