It has been said all season that David Warner has carried Sunrisers Hyderabad on his back in 2016. He has 779 runs from 16 innings. 12 of those scores have been 20-plus, and only four times has he stopped before making a fifty. The latest came under the pressure associated with chasing in a knockout game with very little support from his team-mates. The 93 not out against Gujarat Lions took Sunrisers from 84 for 5 in the 13th over to a target of 163 and confirm a place in the IPL final for the first time in their history.
But winning a trophy requires "a team effort," which Warner has attributed to every time they've won. It isn't a question of gelling well. The make-up of the team hasn't changed much since they made their debut in 2013 and the stories of how well they have handled a homesick, camera shy debutant Mustafizur Rahman point to a nurturing environment.
It is a question of raising their games. The bowlers have done that admirably and, along with Warner, have been the reason for Sunrisers making it back to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, where they were thumped by 45 runs in their season opener. On that occasion, Royal Challengers Bangalore's batting strength had translated to a total of 227 for 4 and overwhelmed the visitors.
For a different result on Sunday, Sunrisers will be hoping their in-form players have one last ride in them and some of their out-of-form players rise to the occasion. Here are three who could be key.
He didn't have a pleasant time on his last visit to Bangalore. The yorkers went wrong so badly that he could pitch only one of the seven balls - one of the full-tosses was ruled a no-ball - in the 19th over and 18-year old Sarfaraz Khan went on a scooping spree. To Bhuvneshwar's credit, he has not been discouraged from looking for the blockhole. His pace is up, has reprised his old swing and has been the leader of the attack with 23 wickets in 16 matches at an economy of 7.5. With Ashish Nehra out and Mustafizur under an injury cloud, Bhuvneshwar's spells at the top and end of the innings will be vital to his team's chances.
He hadn't been in Bangalore the last time and it almost seemed like once Warner had been dismissed in the ninth over, the contest was over. Yuvraj's return from an ankle injury meant oppositions had to keep looking for wickets because of the potential he has to change a game all on his own. In this IPL, especially early in his innings, Yuvraj has not looked particularly fluent. Spin and pace have troubled him, but when he has been able to spend time in the middle, he has shown the skills that made him an outstanding limited-overs batsman - lofting cricket balls out into orbit and rattling the bowler into not being able to execute his plans. Big occasions have brought out the best in Yuvraj before and the Chinnaswamy's short boundaries will be tempting as well.
He needed time to regain his fluency and Warner's form allowed him just that. The best representation of Dhawan in form is when he pierces a well-stocked off-side field with his square drives and he has been hitting them a lot more fluently as the tournament has gone on. His legside play has also improved lately, with the flick being among his preferred shots. Sunrisers' plan has been for one of their top-order batsmen to last the 20 overs and considering the many times his opening partner has done that, Dhawan wouldn't want to fall too far behind.