By Karthik Parimal
Chasing a mammoth total of 187 is not often an easy task in T20 cricket. Despite the fact that the Deccan Chargers (DC) have a poor home record in the Indian Premier League (IPL), chasing more than nine runs per over, albeit against an insipid bowling attack, still requires some effort.
When Virender Sehwag was dismissed in the second ball of the Delhi Daredevils’ (DD) innings on Thursday, it appeared as though Deccan would finally taste some success. However, as he so often does, David Warner bulldozed his way to single-handedly steer Delhi to victory.
Warner’s methodology in bludgeoning bowling attacks has few equals in international cricket. It speaks highly of his adaptability that he is totally at ease while switching to any formats of the game. His heroics in the Test series at home against New Zealand and India proved that he is as accomplished and dangerous in Tests as he is in T20 cricket. For a player who hasn’t played much first-class cricket, it is a tremendous achievement to be an integral part of the Australian side in all three formats. It’s no surprise then that he is one of the most sought-after batsmen today.
Warner relishes subcontinent conditions. Not many months ago, he represented the New South Wales (NSW) in the Champions League T20 and became the highest run-getter, scoring 328 runs in five games at an average of 109.33 and an outstanding strike-rate of over 172. He scored 135 and 123, both unbeaten, against established Indian Premier League (IPL) sides Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) respectively. His century against Deccan on Thursday implies that he has now scored three centuries in his last four games played in India.
Warner’s seamless transition between Tests, One-Day Internationals (ODI) and T20 deserves the highest encomiums. For someone who was widely perceived as merely an abridged version player, a Test average of 42.1 in nine matches, inclusive of two hundreds, is excellent. Sourav Ganguly believes that Warner has changed the face of Test cricket.
Although it’s too early to predict, Warner is capable of emulating former Australian opener Matthew Hayden’s feats. Hayden, like Warner, was fearless and stamped his authority wherever he went. He opened very successfully for CSK in the previous editions of IPL.
Warner didn’t exactly have an ideal IPL last year, but his potential was there for everyone to see during the third season. He slammed an unbeaten 107 in just 69 balls against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to announce his arrival. Two years later, Warner has returned as a more mature, dangerous batsman than before. He has stepped into the void created by Kevin Pietersen exit to fulfil national duties. The fact that Warner will remain till the end of the IPL5 is a good sign for DD. It makes them the strongest contenders to lift the IPL this year.
DD is one team that were considered favourites right from the start of IPL 5 owing to their strong batting line-up, and they haven’t disappointed yet. It looks difficult to displace them from the top spot despite the fact that they have four matches remaining against good sides like CSK, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and RCB. Sehwag has looked in tremendous knick right throughout this IPL and has owned the Orange Cap twice already. If he can fire alongside Warner in the remaining league matches and the play-offs, then there is no doubt that DD’s going to be an invincible side. Moreover, they have class bowlers like Morne Morkel, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan who are more than capable of restricting any opposition. It’s just a matter of players performing to their potential for DD.
Looking at David Warner’s current form, it’s difficult to imagine him not succeed. In Thursday’s match against DC, neither the spinners nor the seamers were spared. He hasn’t revealed a chink in his armour yet, and hereafter the opposition can only hope that he succumbs to his own mistakes.
(If cricket is a religion and has many devotees, Karthik Parimal would be a primary worshipper. His zeal for writing and love for the sport of cricket is what has brought him here. Karthik can also be followed on Twitter)