Gujarat Lions v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2016, Qualifier 2, Delhi May 27, 2016

Warner blends early substance with late style

In the way that David Warner chipped away at the target as opposed to bursting through it, he was more Kohli than de Villiers. Now to take on both of them in the final

David Warner grinded his way toward the target without much support in the batting order © BCCI

"When you see a total of 160, you can be in two minds as a batting unit. You can either get off to a good start and have positive intent or you can try to get through the first six and set a platform to the end."

David Warner, after having successfully defended 162 in the Eliminator. What he meant to say was that under high pressure, defending 160 wasn't as difficult as it had been in the earlier parts of the tournament. Two nights later, on a harder pitch than the one they beat Kolkata Knight Riders on, Warner inserted Gujarat Lions and found himself chasing the same total that they had defended successfully. Unfortunately for Sunrisers Hyderabad they were neither able to show positive intent nor set a platform at the start, which is quite similar to what they themselves did to Knight Riders.

A left-arm wrist spinner in the mix, a couple of others bowling shrewd cutters, Lions were giving Sunrisers a taste of their own medicine. With not much firepower left in the tank once Yuvraj Singh became the third wicket to fall in the ninth over, it was clear Warner would have to win this game by himself. Well he would need a little help - which he got from Bipul Sharma in the end - but Warner would have to conceptualise this win all by himself and execute most of it.

Aaron Finch, Warner's opening partner in T20 internationals and his opponent on the night, summed the feeling up for Lions. "It was an amazing knock, wasn't it?" he said. "The way he controlled the innings, the whole way through, and then went right through and got them home. We have been at the receiving end of a couple of great knocks in this tournament. Just that one batsman. AB [de Villiers] last game, Davey tonight. We can hold our head up very high. We have played some great cricket throughout this tournament but unfortunately we couldn't get them world-class players out."

There will be the obvious comparisons with de Villiers in that they single-handedly foiled what could have been great comeback stories for them, but arguably Warner's effort was more difficult. Bangalore, for starters, is a six-hitting ground. Solo performances can work there. And de Villiers is a more versatile batsman; he can ruin yorker bowlers through sweeps and ramps and charges down the wicket. Warner, one of the best though he may be today, is not as complete as de Villiers. He had to be more workmanlike with this than de Villiers.

Warner didn't panic or pull the trigger too early. There was a calm to his innings although he did lose his cool during the second timeout, presumably at Naman Ojha for the shot he played to get out. Warner, with all his experience, knew if two specialist batsmen stayed there till the end this ground was going to be difficult to defend on. He blew off some steam with Tom Moody during the timeout, and once again you could tell he was confident that if he stayed there till the end, he was going to win this for his team.

The one time that he did look to play the manufactured shot was in the 15th over. You could sense this was the over. Ravindra Jadeja hadn't bowled all night. Finch said it was because they didn't get the matchups right. If they had a right-hand batsman on strike at the start of the over, they didn't have the end right. If they got the end right, a left-hand batsman would be on strike. So Suresh Raina and Dwayne Smith made up for Jadeja's overs. With 66 runs required from the last six, and the last recognised pair in the middle, Raina thought now was the time to get Smith's over out of the way.

After singles off the first two balls, Smith bowled a slower ball, short of length. It was not driveable because of the length, not pullable because of the lack of pace. The other night Warner said these were the balls, bowled into the pitch, "sort of skidding on bail-high", that were hard to play "release shots" off.

Warner knew, though, that with Dwayne Bravo and Praveen Kumar to come, he needed release shots right then. So he took Smith on. And for once he muscled his way out in an otherwise subtle innings. And how he muscled out. He went back to punch this down the ground, taking on the long-off fielder, trusting his big bat, clearing the man. This, right here, was the reason Warner never panicked. He knew he could call upon this brute strength in the end.

Warner was back to touch play next ball. Smith went back to trying a yorker, which turned out to be a low full toss. He opened the face of the bat at the last moment to beat the deep cover-point. Then he quietly knocked his glove on his thigh, and pumped himself up. The asking rate in control, Raina went to Bravo, who bowled a great 16th over. Ojha looked to hit out towards the end, and Warner was not happy with the outcome.

Luckily for Warner, he found an able ally in Bipul. After facing two yorkers from Praveen, when Bipul hoisted the error ball, a half-volley, for a big six over long-off, Warner was relieved and was back to focusing on taking the game to its bitter end. One of the fittest cricketers in the world, just like Kohli, Warner ran as fast as he did in the 19th over as he did in the first few. Two couples, a scythed boundary, and Sunrisers had eliminated Praveen's last over.

In the way that Warner chipped away at the target as opposed to bursting through it, he was more Kohli than de Villiers. Now to take on both of them in two nights' time.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cool on May 28, 2016, 12:12 GMT

    The grit determination and anger shown by Warner at the 2nd time out with moody showed how badly he wanted to win, of how confident he was about winning this game. Same was showed by Yuvi vs KKR , when Hooda got run out , then and there it was eveni den these two men were gonna take Sunrisers home scoring big Yuvi vs KKR & Davey vs GL. Reminded me of MSD's anger towards Yuvi when he almost got run out in that 2011 finals vs SL . After the match when Sunrisers players came to hug Davey , he wasn't amused wth the team, who didn't show the same grit that he has shown to win the game , he was happy with Bipul & Bhuvi ,rest others he wasn't. Next year He might get Hooda karn sharma dumped from the team via team management . On e many army Davey, go SRH !! Get trophy to Hyd !!!

  • mohammad on May 28, 2016, 10:15 GMT

    In next IPL big name non-performers may not be rich, to get crores of money, rather have to be happy with Lakhs. How much will Bipul get? More than Ojah, Yuvi and Dhwan.

  • sree on May 28, 2016, 8:42 GMT

    SRH XI for final:

    1 Warner 2 Dhawan 3 Henriques 4 Yuvraj 5 Morgan 6 Hooda 7 Ojha 8 Bipul 9 Bhuvi 10 Sran 11 Mustafizur

    If Mustafizur is not fit, play Cutting instead of Boult. So he will give additional batting option which is an asset on Bangalore pitch. Alternate XI:

    1 Warner 2 Dhawan 3 Henriques 4 Yuvraj 5 Morgan 6 Hooda 7 Cutting 8 Ojha 9 Bipul 10 Bhuvi 11 Sran

    With the alternate eleven, SRH will get batting till 9 which is very much required for them as their middle order is so brittle. Yet they will have some 7 bowling options.

  • sree on May 28, 2016, 8:33 GMT

    Hatsoff to Warner! Just one look at him during the matches or press address and you would know from his face. Intensity is the word. Not even Kholi has matched this sort of intensity throughout the tournament. Add to that Warner is the sole warrior in his team and burdened with captaincy headaches. Yet he carried his entire team all the way to the finals. Take a bow. Not to take anything away from Kholi, he has big boys support of ABD, Gayle, Watson. Warner lost Nehra, Mustafizur now. No other batter has supported him so far. His vent out with Tom Moody is well deserved. Time, that his rest of the team do it for their captain in the last match, for the man who has taken all the squad till the final. SRH might want to bring in Morgan for the final may be give him a pep talk and ask him to join forces to counter RCB batting might.

  • sam on May 28, 2016, 5:53 GMT

    I agree with @Hasheem. Both Yuvraj and Naman played extremely irresponsible shots. Bipul Sharma (an unheralded cricketer whose first class average is amazing as an all-rounder just because he plays for Himachal Pradesh in Division Two / Plate League of Ranji Trophy) was truly brilliant with the bat and without him SRH wouldnt have qualified for Finals.

  • Rajesh on May 28, 2016, 5:15 GMT

    Brilliant and fantastic innings by Warner... Amazing to see the way he kept his calm through out the chase and it was obvious he had a clear plan against each bowler.. A remarkable captain's innings when every other batsmen failed excepting Bipul Sharma.. Bipul appears to have excellent credentials to fill-in the spinner/big-hitter role that the Indian team needs badly..

  • hafeez on May 28, 2016, 5:14 GMT

    The Indian Pros have been disgusting.

    Casual and taking things for granted.

    Yuvrajs shot was pathetic.

    Warner has been a Kohli for SRH,Brilliant to say the least.

    Bipul Sharma was my hero,his clean striking was awesome but you have guys being paid Crores for doing nothing but for 25 lakhs this bloke singly brought SRH to the Finals. Sharma deserves all that money splurged on likes of Negi.

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