Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody has attributed their up-and-down season to losing key moments in matches they had otherwise dominated. Sunrisers have six points from seven matches and are currently looking to snap a three-match losing streak.
One of Sunrisers' handicaps, the unavailability of captain Kane WIlliamson in five of their matches due to a shoulder issue, has meant that seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has had to lead the side in five of their games. Moody gave a positive assessment of him while reinforcing that the switching leadership wasn't as big a factor as their tardiness at finishing games off.
"Obviously it would have been nice to have Kane fit from the beginning of the tournament," Moody said on Tuesday. "I think when Bhuvi captained the side, he did a very good job. I don't think it's a leadership issue at all. I think it's simply there's been moments - if you look at our games [up]till today in detail, there's been aspects of our game that we haven't got quite right. But I think we've won more overs than lost in the tournament.
"Look at KKR, very first game - we'd won [the first] 90 percent of that game. And we lost it. There are many examples like that. Mumbai Indians here - we played exceptionally well and then we found ourselves in no-man's land. And that last game here, we dominated the first half of the game, we got off to a steady start. We didn't quite capitalise in the first ten overs, what we should have done having not lost wickets. We then found ourselves going backwards. So we're winning the majority of a lot of the contest, but we're not finishing the job."
"It's really down to him to turn things around. I think that's what's the exciting part for him and for us. He still will have an opportunity to turn things around and have an impact this season."Tom Moody on Manish Pandey's poor run
The previous game, the one against Delhi Capitals, was particularly demoralising for Sunrisers who, having putting up 72 for the opening stand, were bowled out for 116 in a chase of 156. After the game, David Warner had noted that leaving out multiple experienced middle-order batsmen for the game had hurt Sunrisers. Williamson's return had meant Mohammed Nabi had to drop out of the XI. Among the domestic players who were left out was Manish Pandey, whose poor returns as a Sunrisers player continue to build up.
Pandey has made 54 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 93.10 and hasn't hit a single six this season. His highest score of 19 this season is his sixth highest overall for the franchise - he has only five scores of 20-plus in 18 innings overall.
"Obviously Manish hasn't quite hit the ground running in the last season and a bit," Moody said. "In the last year and the start of this season. No one will be more disappointed than Manish himself. He's a player that's got a lot of pride in his game and he's a good performer. He came into this season in some good form as well, having scored runs in the domestic season and having captained his side to victory. So it hasn't quite worked out for him, to this point. It's really down to him to turn things around. I think that's what's the exciting part for him and for us. He still will have an opportunity to turn things around and have an impact this season."
There wasn't, however, a clear indication from moody whether Sunrisers would switch back to having either Pandey or Yusuf Pathan back as they face table-toppers Chennai Super Kings at home on Wednesday. But whether they'll lean again on experience or not, Moody said that most importantly, they had moved on from the collapse.
"Ask Delhi Capitals. They're going okay," Moody said when asked about how a team bounces back from such a defeat. "The most important thing when you have a disappointing loss is you do reflect and then you move on. You don't ignore it. It's important to reflect and have a good look at it and you move on as quick as possible as a group. And we've done that."
Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo