One of the key factors in the march of Sunrisers Hyderabad to the final of the Indian Premier League 2018 has been how well their bowling has done. Rashid Khan has led the way with 21 wickets at an excellent economy rate of 6.78 and an average 20.66.
Siddarth Kaul also has 21 wickets, while all of Shakib Al Hasan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma have contributed at various stages. The bowlers have been expertly marshalled by Kane Williamson, who has also been quite spectacular with the bat. Williamson is the tournament’s top run-getter with 688 runs at an average 52.92 and a strike-rate of 143.33. Williamson was not slated to lead the team, but was appointed captain after David Warner’s one-year suspension for his part in the ball-tampering saga meant Hyderabad would miss their regular captain and most dynamic batsman.
Williamson though, has not let them feel the absence of either by stepping into the breach seamlessly. The New Zealander agreed that being skipper came on with little warning, but also praised the role Warner had played with the side in previous years – which included a title triumph in 2016.
Williamson will have the chance to repeat that triumph on Sunday (May 27) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai against Chennai Super Kings.
“The captaincy came fairly suddenly. It’s been an enjoyable experience,” said Williamson. “I think as a franchise being involved for a few years and the team has changed quite a lot it some ways with 14 new players. Exciting to learn something about myself and the guys in the team – different cultures, different parts of the world with Tom (Moody) and the management.
“Look Davey is a big part of the franchise as a player and as a leader,” he added. “He’s contributed so much in the last few years and obviously as events unfolded, things changed pretty quickly. But as a team we gelled pretty quickly together to try and start operating well as a unit.”
Tom Moody, the coach, held that Williamson had been a natural leader in the side even under Warner, and that having been part of the franchise for a few years, understood its dynamics well and fitted into the role straight away.
“I think it’s been an easy transition for our team given that Kane’s been part of the Sunrisers setup for a few years,” felt Moody. “Those who were there in the previous years were very familiar with Kane as a person and a lot of people sort of forget the fact that even though you don’t have a type as a leader, he naturally offered his leadership around the group. Whether he was in the playing XI or not in the playing XI, I know for certain (that) David Warner relied him a lot with his advice on match-day or outside.
“So, given that was the history, the actual transition was a very smooth transition. I think it’s just a case of him adapting to a new environment to captain and the IPL is a unique environment and he’s done that like duck to water.”