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With the battle for the final spot in the top four of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 heating up, the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will be looking to overcome a strong Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). Shiamak Unwalla looks at how the Hyderabad batting line-up needs to improve in order for them to progress.
After Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pulled off a superb win against the Delhi Daredevils (DD), the battle for a spot in the upper half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 Points Table has heated up. While Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) are virtually assured of spots, there is a mid-table scramble between the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and the Challengers for the fourth spot.
In their last match, Kolkata pulled off a victory against then-table toppers Punjab. Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa ensured that a potentially challenging total was chased down almost perfectly. On the other hand, RCB have been bolstered by the amazing recent form of their Rs 14-crore man, Yuvraj Singh. The southpaw has played two boundary-filled innings in two games, the second of which resulted in a victory for RCB.
The fact that bowlers wins matches is unquestionable, but it is equally true that batsmen set up matches, and this is where the Sunrisers have been severely lacking. Their opening batsman, Shikhar Dhawan, has been getting starts without converting them. The captain is yet to cross 40 this season, and his lack of form has been a huge blow for Hyderabad. His opening partner, Aaron Finch, has shown shades of form throughout the IPL without ever exploding. Currently, the Hyderabad openers average just under 23 with only one fifty-plus partnership after nine games. The bulk of their scoring has been done by David Warner, who has batted everywhere from the No 3 position to No 5.
The most disturbing statistic about the Hyderabad’s batting is that there have been only six half-centuries scored by their batsmen in nine games.That is a shockingly low number of fifties and that says a lot about their batting woes. What is worse is that four of those half centuries have been from Warner and two from Finch. This just shows that Hyderabad need better batsmen — or maybe more batsmen, since their current ones aren’t sticking around too long — if they are to have any hopes of progressing to the final four. They have the likes of Manpreet Juneja, Ricky Bhui, Amit Paunikar, Parvez Rasool and Srikkanth Aniruddha waiting in the wings and perhaps they would benefit from shuffling the batting order to include a couple of these players.
Whatever Hyderabad choose to do, they must do it fast. At a stage in the tournament where every match could make or break their chances, they need to come up with enough batting firepower to set up games for their impressive bowling attack. Adding to their batting might be the way to go for a side that needs to win every game it plays from here on.
(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)
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