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David Warner: The hero of Hyderabad

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David_Warner_Australia_IPL_CricketSunrisers Hyderabad have been impressive in the last three seasons of the Indian Premier League. The side has shown exceptional abilities when it comes to the bowling department and has defended small totals with ease. Ably lead by skipper David Warner, the side won the last year's tournament, defeating the high-riding Royal Challengers Bangalore

While the franchise doesn't boast many big names when it comes to the batting department, due credit must be given to David Warner who has almost single-handedly carried the side with the bat in this year's tournament and last year's successful campaign. His unbeaten 93 in the semifinals and a blazing 69 in the finals paved the way for the sides' first ever IPL trophy. 

First signed up by Delhi Daredevils after a string of impressive performances in the shortest format of the game, Warner moved to Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2014 edition of the Indian Premier League. His debut match for the 'Orange Army' didn't go well, as he struggled to get going. But he then stepped up his act and scored the side's second half-century in their four-run victory against Delhi Daredevils. The win was Hyderabad's first ever victory in the cash-rich tournament. 

A string of half-centuries, six to be precise, including a score of 90, ensured Warner finished as the side's highest run-scorer. In what was an otherwise dismal debut campaign, Hyderabad was delighted with the performance of their premier player. Come 2015 edition of the Indian Premier League, Warner was at his best. After a successful World Cup campaign, Warner plundered 562 runs in 14 matches. Sunrisers Hyderabad's position in the table didn't change, but yet again, Warner showed his class and was awarded the Orange Cap for his remarkable form. 

He led the side from the front in his debut campaign but Hyderabad still had some issues to sort out. The southpaw's 91 against Kolkata Knight Riders was a testament to the fact that Warner meant business. He held the then record of the highest score by an individual batsman. 

2016 was the turning point for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Coming into the tournament, Warner knew that he had to take a rabbit out of the hat if he wants to take his side to glory. Though Sunrisers lost heavily to runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first match, Warner scored a quickfire 58 to kickstart his campaign. It was just the trailer of his campaign. 

After facing back to back defeats, Warner led from the front, scoring a magnificent 90*, to steer his side to a victory against Mumbai Indians. He then stitched a 137-run partnership with Shikhar Dhawan, to lead his side to a 10-wicket victory over Gujarat Lions, which was the side's biggest victory in terms of number of wickets. 

Warner versus Royal Challengers Bangalore was always a feast for the viewers. The southpaw buccaneered his way to 92 off just 50 balls, which helped Hyderabad avenge the defeat in the initial stages of the campaign. Not only did he bat well, he also led his side to comprehensive victories. The 87-run victory against Mumbai Indians showed his tactical side as a skipper as the two-time Champions were bowled out in the 17th over. 

He also led his side to some nail-biting victories. The four-run victory against Rising Pune Supergiant was a testament to his ability to lead the side whilst being under pressure. With a third place finish, Warner's side defeated Kolkata in the eliminator, thanks to an impressive performance in the death overs. He blasted a couple of half-centuries in the Qualifier 2 and in the finals to pave the way for the side's maiden title. Had it not been for Kohli's mind-boggling season, Warner would've definitely been the Man of the Tournament. The left-hander's knocks had more impact on his side compared to Kohli's impact on Bengaluru. 

 

“The most important thing that I draw from Warner is he has a relentless passion to win,” Hyderabad coach Moody said of the captain after the final. “He is a born winner and that rubs off on others. He has got an incredible work ethic, incredible discipline and all those things are so important from a leadership point of view and that has rubbed off on the group,” he added. 

Heading into this year's campaign, Warner had his sights on defending the coveted trophy. Though he failed to perform in the first match, Warner blasted a half-century against a hapless Gujarat Lions bowling attack to get his side to a second victory in as many matches. 

After losing a couple of matches, Warner took the initiative and scored a half-century before leading his side to a thrilling victory against Punjab. Here is a stat which will leave you bamboozled. Out of 10 century partnerships, before the match against Delhi, David Warner was involved in each and every of those ten partnerships. 

He registered his first century for Sunrisers Hyderabad during his unbeaten 126 against Kolkata Knight Riders. It was his first century in five years in the Indian Premier League after having scored a plethora of half-centuries. It was the fifth-fastest century in the history of the tournament, coming off just 43 deliveries. 

His half-century against Gujarat Lions guided Sunrisers Hyderabad to a playoffs spot for the second time in consecutive seasons. Barring his 37, none of the other batsmen could register a score above 25, as Sunrisers were restricted to a modest score. You could back them in low chases, but rain meant the D/L method had to come into play, which made it easier for Kolkata, who eventually went on to win the match. 

For a batsman who never played First-Class cricket before making his International debut, it comes as a surprise to see the same person leading the side, single-handedly. Warner finished as this season's Orange Cap holder, and the curse of the Orange Cap continues. 

Warner has been Sunrisers Hyderabad's leading run-scorer in all the seasons since the team came into the tournament. That fact is itself a testament to the fact that he is the most important player of the side. Be it a chase or setting up a target, Warner has been the lynchpin for Sunrisers Hyderabad. He is definitely the superhero of the Sunrisers Hyderabad team.

 

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