PUNE: In a long drawn tournament such as the Indian Premier League, 11 matches, nine wins and two losses seems like statistics straight out of a dream.
No cricket pundit dared to predict such a scenario but Sunrisers Hyderabad defied the odds all through with a rare art of defending low totals that has become a talking point as the season nears the business end.
Sunrisers may have already sealed a playoff place, but for the chief coach Tom Moody work still remains to be done. No less than top 2 finish will satisfy the Australian taskmaster and he made it as much clear on Saturday as his team went through workout in the nets ahead of their return match against Chennai Super Kings, one of the only two teams against whom SRH has lost early this season.
The schedule had been grueling—but Moody isn’t complaining and the way his team has performed he has set greater target for the crack team to achieve.
Given the way they have defended low totals after losing two close contests—first against Kings XI Punjab and then against Chennai—Sunrisers woke up to a new dawn and since then they have remarkably defended low totals.
“Defending a total is a collective responsibility. For me if a bowler takes that responsibility then 10 other fielders also need to stay up to the job and the way we have done so far we take pride in that,” said Moody on the eve the match.
SRH has never shied away from whatever task presented to them because “it is something that can be done” said Moody.
“Whole team can take pride in the way we have played so far as defending was obviously been a focus. First was to get the right bowler into attack and second to put fielders in place to support the bowler as best as possible,” is how Moody explained the genesis of SRH’s success.
Many cricket pundits might want to describe Sunrisers’ 9-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils in their last match before arriving in Pune as a statement, Moody would like to label it as an opportunity.
“It wasn’t any statement of sort, but an opportunity that Shikhar Dhawan took it and blasted his way at Feroz Shah Kotla ground,” said Moody.
“The interval between the two innings provided us the opportunity to step up as a batting group and express ourselves on a wickets that was pretty true,” Moody said as a matter of fact.
Sunrisers are looking at constant improvement ever since they lost to Chennai Super Kings at home. That 4-run defeat still rankles, but it won’t play heavy on mind when they meet MS Dhoni-led squad on the morrow.
On any other day Chennai would have counted itself favourites, but the way team has exposed its fickle bowling at the death, every team would like to break into what otherwise was considered as fortress manned by Dhoni.
Moody has implored his team that there was still an unfinished work they needed to complete.
Qualification doesn’t change anything as a trip to Mumbai for Qualifier 1 on May 22 is the target that Moody has set for Sunrisers. And, for that to happen, Dhawan’s form against Delhi on Thursday augurs well as does that of skipper Kane Williamson, who Moody described as a pure 50-over batsman but a dangerous contender in this shortest format of the game.
Chennai, who are on the second spot, would feel the heat after their shocking loss against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur on Friday, but if Moody sees opportunity in every adversity, MSD wouldn’t be far behind.