Sunrisers strip David Warner of captaincy, drop him for Royals match
Opener replaced by Kane Williamson in quest to revive IPL campaign after losses
A day after stripping David Warner of the captaincy, Sunrisers Hyderabad dropped the opener from the team to play against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday as they seek to revive their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign under Kane Williamson.
The franchise, languishing at the bottom of the points table after just one win in their first six matches, put New Zealand’s Williamson in charge on Saturday, replacing Australian Warner who led Hyderabad to their maiden IPL title in 2016.
The usually free-scoring Warner rued his slow batting in their previous match against Chennai Super Kings and took “full responsibility” for the loss. His two fifties notwithstanding, the opener’s unremarkable strike rate of 110 reveals his struggle to capitalise on the new ball and fielding restrictions.
Hyderabad brought in Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi instead as the fourth overseas player in the playing XI, which also includes Englishman Jonny Bairstow and Afghan spinner Rashid Khan.
“The change is fairly sudden,” Williamson said after electing to field against Rajasthan. “For me it’s just trying to pick up where we’ve been operating as a group, just try and improve in all facets. We know we are able to do that, just make those small adjustments, and hopefully that reflects on the results.”
The New Zealand captain said Hyderabad have a “lot of work to do” in the last half of their campaign in the eight-team league.
“It’s important we adjust to the conditions that are always changing, and come out, play with a smile on our faces,” Williamson added.
• For someone keen to produce memorable knocks in big matches, Mumbai Indians player Kieron Pollard is particularly pleased with the one he conjured in Saturday’s “El Clasico” victory against Chennai Super Kings.
The clash between the IPL’s two most successful franchises who share eight titles between them resulted in a runfest as the sides amassed a combined score of 437 runs, including 30 sixes.
Eight of those sixes flew from Pollard’s bat as the Mumbai’s middle-order linchpin smashed an unbeaten 87 off just 34 balls, his first 50 this season, to secure Mumbai’s last-ball victory by four wickets.
“World-class players at the CSK team,” Pollard said of table-toppers Chennai, led by former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. “We built this match as [the] El Clasico of the IPL. When you have international guys with so much experience ... guys who have done it time and again, you want to be able to come out and perform [against them] in these sort of matches.
“For me, it’s just a matter of doing what I can do — playing to my strengths and doing what the team requires at any given time,” the 33-year-old said after his spectacular power-hitting earned him the Player of the Match award.
Since joining the franchise in 2010, Pollard has been a crucial cog in Mumbai’s five triumphant IPL campaigns and the all-rounder said familiarity with the franchise has helped.
“Over a period of time, you’re comfortable in a franchise and they believe in you after so many years. You just want to continue to come out and perform. So ... it’s just a matter of coming out day in, day out trying to evolve as a cricketer and trying to do my best.”
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