Kings XI Punjab v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2017, Mohali April 28, 2017

Williamson finds a place in T20 world

Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman Kane Williamson struck a 26-ball fifty and outpaced his more illustrious T20 shoo-ins

Star turn

This is not a format for the niceties. This is a format of the bottom lines. People looking for aesthetics sometimes feel bad for the batsmen more artistically inclined. The cricketers don't. VVS Laxman wouldn't have minded looking ungainly if it got him a 1000 tough Test runs more. They know the bottom lines that matter. This is not a format of the arcs that bats make. It is a format of the runs and the strike-rates.

One of the players at Sunirsers Hyderabad, where Laxman is the mentor, Kane Williamson, is aware of the metrics that matter. He had to sit out five matches before he got a game in. He spent that time standing with captain David Warner at the boundary, exchanging notes, helping him with captaincy. Imagine that luxury, when it gets tight, to have at your disposal one of the smartest cricket brains around.

That contribution doesn't show on the scoreboard, though. So, for the second time out of three, Williamson has gone ahead and outpaced his more illustrious T20 shoo-ins. His strike-rate of 178.26 is the best for Sunrisers this season. Limit it to batsmen who have scored more than150 runs this IPL, Williamson is now behind only Glenn Maxwell in terms of strike-rate.

It might not always hold true because power finds a way to prevail in a format so short, but in Mohali Williamson found a way to score 54 at a strike-rate of 200. He did so without over-hitting a single ball, just timing it, and more importantly placing it. That innings, after the fall of Warner and Dhawan, gave Sunrisers the extra 10-15 runs that gave them the breathing space when it got tight in a defence on a flat pitch and a dewy outfield.

How Kane Williamson picked off Kings XI Punjab © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The wow moment

In the 19th over of the innings, Williamson saw the strong off-side field, and his brain told him to go leg side no matter what happened. So even before Ishant Sharma would let the ball go, Williamson would shuffle across, well past him off stump to cover that line. When you move so much in the crease, it is not easy to find a stable base to impart power in your shots, so when Ishant bowled a slower bouncer - after 2, 6, 4, 2 - it seemed there might finally be a dot. Williamson, though, found some kind of ladder and somehow managed to time the hook so well it should have gone for a six over the long square part of the Mohali stadium. It only took some fielding brilliance from Manan Vohra to collect the ball overhead and throw it back in before he fell over the ropes.

Stats that matter

  • Williamson faced only one dot ball in this innings.

  • This, in 26 balls, was not Williamson's fastest fifty. He scored one in 25 when he went on to score a hundred for Northern Districts in Raipur in 2014.

What they said

"He is a fantastic player. The way he comes in and starts playing freely and elegantly it is great for us."
David Warner must be glad he has started playing Williamson

"Bit odd to put it that way about a champion like Kane Williamson, but he is emerging as the surprise packet for Sunrisers."
Harsha Bhogle on Twitter

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Tuxabbas on April 29, 2017, 10:42 GMT

    Kane williamson does not need ipl innings' endorsements. He has been a better player in t20, odis and tests, against better bowling attacks

  • Coolcapricorn on April 29, 2017, 10:32 GMT

    Not long back we were blessed in seeing the talents of four great all rounders in the game at the same time in Botham, Hadlee, Kapil Dev & Imran Khan. Now we have all these great batsmen like ABD, Kohli, Root, Smith & Williamson - who all seem to have so much talent in being able to switch effortlessly between T20 & Test cricket, yet prosper in both formats. Maybe as fans we take these things for granted - thinking others will surely come & replace these greats of the game but who knows we may not be so lucky in seeing such similar stars playing the game at the same time. So whilst this is uncertain, let us all park our tribalism aside & enjoy seeing the sublime talents of all these fantastic players.

  • Dan Paine on April 29, 2017, 7:29 GMT

    Kane is the best in the world and will end up being one kf the greatest ever - top ten bats of all-time IMHO

  • gazzac on April 29, 2017, 7:21 GMT

    @allroundcricket, fair point but I have to agree with Xanedro. What you haven't said is that you could also be facing a group of domestic level Indian bowlers that might not be so great (no offence to those players...)

  • hamanar on April 29, 2017, 7:15 GMT

    I don't see him as a surprise.

  • White_Bird on April 29, 2017, 6:28 GMT

    Always knew that Kane is a great T20 player as well but striking at 200.00! Boy, thats some new stuff

  • ALLROUNDCRICKET on April 29, 2017, 5:05 GMT

    @Praveen Sid is Totally right in his assesment. Kanes evolution this IPL against a whole variety of bowling opposition is what Sid's article is about. Read mynprevious post for further evidencel

  • PRAVEENCRICKET14 on April 29, 2017, 4:30 GMT

    Finally finds a place? He's ranked 3 in T20Is. Sid, so you don't watch enough cricket then?

  • ALLROUNDCRICKET on April 29, 2017, 4:16 GMT

    Xanedro thats be cause its the IPL that provides a forum for the best to play in the same outfit ie the threat or versatility needed is that much more. Show me 1 other international team that has a Gayle a Kihli and an ABD calibre player in the same team forget top 3. Show me 1 team with 3 quicks over 145 kmph a world cup winning 300 test wicket taker in Zaheer and a leggie in Mishra other than DD. That is what makes Kane's knocks better

  • xanedro on April 29, 2017, 3:40 GMT

    I don't understand why IPL performances at paid so much heed. Williamson is already a class act and in the Top 10 in the batting charts in all 3 formats, but it is only after 2 good IPL innings that it is being said that he 'finds a place in T20 world'. Sad.

  • No featured comments at the moment.