The opening pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow has been on fire for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Their opening pair has been key to Hyderabad posting two 200-plus totals in the 12th edition of the IPL, thus far.
In the game against Delhi capitals, which Hyderabad won easily, Warner and Bairstow recorded their fourth successive 50+ stand. They are only the second pair to do so in their first four IPL games.
Interestingly, Warner and Bairstow will turn into bitter rivals cometh the Ashes, which will take place after completion of the Cricket World Cup. We all know how fierce is the rivalry between England and Australia. But, right now they are performing like the best of mates and showing a great level of understanding with each other.
English limited-overs skipper, Eoin Morgan reflected on this aspect of the game and said, "The two of them are team-mates for the moment but that is the beauty of playing franchise cricket. You do get to rub shoulders with guys you never thought you'd play with.
"Thinking about it since in different sports, in football it happens all the time. Compare Portugal's game where Ronaldo got Wayne Rooney sent off [at 2006 World Cup], and had to go back and play for Manchester United two weeks later. It's trickier circumstances, but I'm sure Jonny is learning a huge amount from other guys that he's rubbing shoulders with," Morgan added.
Sunrisers Hyderabad's coach, Tom Moody is a happy man at the moment. His team Hyderabad are currently the table toppers in IPL's points table. They are absolutely on fire. At present, IPL is capturing everyone's attention but still, people are eagerly awaiting the inception of the Cricket World Cup that will take place in England and Wales from May 30.
SRH coach Tom Moody named India and England as favorites for the ICC showpiece event. "The standouts are India and England. They are absolute certainties to be in the top four. What is exciting about this World Cup is a number of sides can easily find themselves in third and fourth positions. Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and West Indies -- I don’t think people thought of them 12 months ago. Windies are a serious threat, particularly if someone like Sunil Narine comes back into the equation," Tom Moody was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
"The other exciting thing is the interest and intrigue around what Afghanistan are going to do. I don’t care who you are in this tournament, you are going to be on watch when you play Afghanistan," added the 53 years old.
He is not exactly making waves around the ATP circuit. He has not risen sensationally in the rankings and has not notched up a victory over a top ten player. But in his own way Prajnesh Gunneswaran is making a mark and is currently perched on a career best 81 in the rankings. And given the fact that he almost gave up playing the game and was out of the circuit for four years due to knee injuries it has been a gallant effort by the 29-year-old Chennai born left hander to be carrying India’s flag in various tournaments all over the world including Grand Slams and Masters 1000 competitions.
In a way this is due to his balanced temperament. Fully aware of the intense competition Prajnesh gave himself realistic goals – playing a Grand Slam and getting into the top 100 in 2019. Now that he has achieved both – he lost in the first round of the Australian Open in January to 29th ranked Frances Tiafoe of the US – he is slowly climbing the ladder and gives every indication that he can improve his ranking further.
Prajnesh might not have beaten a top ten player but he has not been without significant wins over players ranked above him. At the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells last month he got the better of world No 63 Benoit Paire in the first round and upset world No 18 Nikoloz Basilashvili in the next round before his unexpectedly successful run was halted in the third round by the big serving Croat Ivo Karlovic. As a result he climbed from 97 to 82 in the rankings – not bad for someone ranked 243 at the start of 2018. .
Following this impressive showing Prajnesh made it to the main draw of the Miami Masters but could not replicate his stunning run at Indian Wells bowling out in the first round to world No 61 Juama Munar of Spain. 7-6, 6-4. Playing his second straight Masters 1000 tournament Prajnesh performed creditably before going down to a player ranked more than 20 places above him. This pushed him one more place up in the rankings.
The wins over Paire and Basilashvili were not Prajnesh’s first victories over players ranked far above him. In June last year at Stuttgart he stunned world No 23 Denis Shapovalov of Canada to serve notice of his rising stature. And of late Prajnesh has brought to his game a stronger and more effective backhand and most importantly an increasingly threatening playing style. There is every hope that his best lies ahead.