The Sunrisers captain struggled to get going in a 55-ball innings, scoring just 57
David Warner will not look back very fondly at the match that got him his 50th IPL half-century and his 10,000th T20 run. Warner struggled to 57 off 55 against the Chennai Super Kings, contributing to a sluggish start as the Sunrisers Hyderabad slumped to a seven-wicket defeat to stay at the bottom of the points table in IPL 2021.
“I take full responsibility. The way that I batted was obviously very slow,” Warner told host broadcaster Star Sports at the end of the match. “I was hitting a lot of fielders and [was] very, very frustrated… Look I take full responsibility from a batting point of view. I felt [that with] Manish [Pandey] coming back into the team, the way that he batted was exceptional. And obviously Kane [Williamson] and Kedar [Jadhav] towards the back end there, they put some boundaries away and got us to a respectable total. I felt that we were probably just below par from where we were. But yeah look, at the end of the day, I’ll take full responsibility.”
It is not that Warner wasn’t trying to get the ball away, but he never found the combination of timing and placement right. A lot of his forcing shots couldn’t hit the gaps, and those that did hadn’t travelled sweetly enough off the bat and could therefore be cut off. ESPNcricinfo’s control percentage illustrates both points: Warner was not in control of his shots for 20% of his innings which comes down to 11 balls, a high enough figure anyway given the length of his innings.
He was in control for 44 balls, but those yielded only 56 runs. Normally, when a batter of Warner’s ability is in control for that many balls, you would expect a higher yield. But against the Super Kings, he couldn’t pierce the gaps even when he timed the ball well. The lack of runs told on Warner, who audibly indulged in self-recrimination and angry, frustrated swings of the bat after yet another ball had not gone where he wanted it to.
“I hit probably 15 good shots to fielders, [as] simple as that,” he said. “I can’t do much about it. They’re the ones that make or break your innings I think. In the first six overs, I hit [to] the fielder four or five times. There was one guy on the leg side, I hit it straight to him with a full toss. It gets frustrating as a batsman when you’re out there. But at the end of the day, I took too many balls.”
The Sunrisers’ coach Trevor Bayliss acknowledged that Warner was finding it tough but backed his captain to come good at the post-match press conference.
“Look I think David will be the first to admit he struggled to hit the gaps today,” Bayliss said. “He hit a lot of balls to the field today. Obviously, with David that doesn’t happen a lot. Tonight it did, so yeah that put us a bit behind the eight-ball, but the other guys batted really well in a team effort. Unfortunately, 170  wasn’t quite enough. I thought they bowled pretty well and then obviously batted well.”
Warner’s 55-ball 57 was worth only 24 points on ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats. An indication of how low that is, is demonstrated by how much Kane Williamson‘s 26* off 10 deliveries was worth, which was nearly double at 44 points.
Williamson’s knock, in fact, was worth more than even Pandey’s 61 off 46. Pandey didn’t accelerate enough through the middle overs and at the death. The Sunrisers have top-heavy batting in their playing XI, with Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Williamson expected to do the heavy lifting. Ordinarily, an innings where Warner has faced 55 balls might have yielded 75 to 100 runs for them. But this happened to be one of those days when everything went wrong for Warner.
With the team sitting at the bottom of the points table and time to catch up running out, they will need this to be a one-off.
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo