And so there was a new favourite for the No.4 spot. Sunrisers Hyderabad brushed aside Kings XI Punjab by 45 runs and are now sitting pretty in the final play-off spot with a two-point advantage over fifth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders.
While Hyderabad’s seemed rejuvenated, old worries resurfaced for Punjab – they had impressed in this campaign, and up until Monday, April 29, night, they had realistic chances of making it through to the next stage. But, somehow, much like last year, it might all be for nothing.
A fantastic IPL season for this man as he bids goodbye to the @SunRisers tonight this season.
Go well, David 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/q0VkPH4f4l
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 29, 2019
David Warner. What a tournament this has been for the Australian. Eight half-centuries, to go with a century. A total of 692 runs at 69.2, with a strike-rate of 143.86. And 57 fours – the most by any player – along with 21 sixes. He signed off from this year’s tournament with a 56-ball 81, and how Hyderabad will fill that hole at the top is anybody’s guess.
What Warner did, however, is the best way to make the world forget past misdemeanours. He came into the tournament just as his 12-month Cricket Australia ban was about to lapse, and he made it a point to enjoy himself out there. In doing so, he reminded the world of his best qualities – the ones that matter – including hard work, persistence, and a knack for connecting bat to ball with great power and timing.
He’s also now announced he’s raring to go at the World Cup. And just like that, Australia’s hopes for the tournament has gone up a few notches.
KL Rahul. It might seem odd to have the second-highest scorer of the league in this column – he has 520 runs at 57.77, including a century and five fifties – but the opener has been a touch too cautious in accumulating those runs as his strike rate of 131.64 shows.
While there is merit to the idea of someone keeping the innings together, it should come with flexibility, such as when chasing a target of 213. This is particularly true given Rahul is capable of hitting big – and Punjab don’t have someone like an Andre Russell or a Hardik Pandya who can come in down the order and make up the deficit.
Rahul’s approach on Monday seemed a little bizarre. It is only when Punjab were reduced to 107/5 that he decided to shift gears – he was on a 36-ball 39 at the time, and he eventually scored 56-ball 79. It was all too little too late, and eventually, the scoreboard pressure proved too much and the Punjab batsmen collapsed.
It isn’t, of course, fair to blame Rahul alone for this – it is likely a decision from the captain and the management.
What they said
KL Rahul is getting runs at the tail end of the innings but, in all fairness, his side would have liked a lot more from him earlier. Was 39(36). The runs would have counted for much more then.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 29, 2019
‘You don’t get 20-ball fifties all the time’
– KL Rahul’s commendable attempt to defend his bizarre strategy. Nobody was buying it though.
What they didn’t say
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I can not express my gratitude enough to the @sunrisershyd family for your support, not just this season but also for the last year. It’s been a long time waiting but it was great to be back amongst the boys. Owners, support staff, players, social media team and the fans thank you very much for welcoming me back with open arms. I thoroughly enjoyed being back out there swinging that willow. Good luck to the guys for the rest of the tournament and finish . #family #orangearmy #humbull #hashtag
‘We won’t miss Warner, not at all’
– Kane Williamson, the Hyderabad captain, in denial.
Rajasthan take on Bangalore. Rajasthan are still alive in the tournament, but a defeat here would kill their hopes. Bangalore are already without hope, and will look to make the most of the free food on offer for the rest of the tournament.