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David Warner back to his lethal best?

By Real11 - Apr 21 2023 362 Views
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David Warner breaks free

David Warner has been Delhi’s standout player in this edition of the Indian T20 League, despite their streak of losses. The dashing opener registered his fourth fifty plus score on Thursday (April 20) against Kolkata and while comparing this knock to his previous outings, there were a few contracts.  The first and most obvious one was that it finally came in a winning cause for Delhi. The other notable difference was his approach. While all of his previous 30-plus scores came at a strike rate of 120, Warner finished close to 140 on Thursday. 

The primary reason Warner was able to score at a brisk rate was that he capitalised on the powerplay, which in turn was possible as the Delhi did not lose quick wickets at the start of their innings unlike few of their last games. Warner scored 45 off 25 in the powerplay on a wicket that slowed down as the innings progressed. 

"We didn't lose three wickets in a row. There are going to be a lot of critics out there to suggest that I haven't been batting the way I normally bat. But when you lose three wickets in a row in two overs, and I faced three balls, what can you do? You can't really do anything. You have to have some sense of responsibility. Just like little Bangalore. You know (if) I get out, people would have criticised me for getting out but that's just the game, that's how it is," Warner said at the post match conference when asked about the censure he has faced over his strike rate.

"For us it's about backing yourself and coming out and executing your skills. Today I felt like my match-ups were there and I'll take the powerplay on. And we didn't lose wickets in clumps in the first two overs. So that plays a big role as well. But for me I felt that I had my rhythm back again, I had a good couple of net sessions. I was probably a bit tentative losing a lot of wickets in the first couple of games but for me it's about going out there and just playing like the way I do and the way that I know, and then it's going to be better off for us and the team."

A potent performance with the ball, led by two-wicket hauls for Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav, assisted Delhi to bundle out Kolkata at 127 after a delayed start due to rain. Delhi at one point were comfortably placed in the run chase but a flurry of wickets in the middle overs created panic before scampering over the line in the final over. 

"Chasing 128, that's quite a low total, there can be...I wouldn't say nerves, can be a bit scratchy," said Warner. "Being 0-5, they (low-scorers) are sometimes hard to win. But the way that our bowlers bowled today was amazing and absolutely exceptional, on that wicket. I didn't feel like that wicket was a 130 wicket, it looked like a 155-165 kind of wicket. Look, we lost wickets again, too many consecutive overs - we have to work on that - but little things can happen when we are chasing small totals."

About Ishant Sharma, Warner said the ace speedster was in hunt to play the previous game at the Arun Jaitley stadium but eventually missed out as he was unwell. “He was sick the last game. He was probably going to be playing the last game but he was sick. That was unfortunate, he had a bit of a fever. So he couldn't play. After the first game that we played here and it swung and seamed, he was definitely going to be in contention to play."

Warner also said that they’ll have to reconsider their bowling combination, once Khaleel, who is nursing a hamstring injury, is back in the mix.  "The other thing you got to think about is Khaleel Ahmed as well. He is a very good new-ball bowler. With Khaleel out, Ishant obviously came in today and bowled exceptionally well. And then we have to have that good, hard think about when Khaleel is fit, what team we're going to go with.

"The guys are bowling really well. Mukesh, he nailed his yorkers. To keep Andre Russell at bay - yeah, maybe get one or two (where) he hit off, but that's fine - to keep him there and execute his yorkers, that's skill. Credit to Ishant, the way he came out of his bed with his sickness, and he bowled exceptionally well. But that's the depth we have with our bowling."

A few of the Indian batters in this Delhi lineup have struggled against short pitched stuff. Particularly Prithvi Shaw, who has been dismissed thrice by pacers in previous matches and has mustered only 47 runs in six matches at an average of 7.83. When Warner was asked if he had any talks/discussions with his teammates to counter pace and short pitched deliveries, the southpaw replied in negative and said it’s completely up to the individual to work on his weakness. 

"To be honest, we don't have too many discussions because you have to back your skill, I can't tell people how to go back. You have to actually work it out. If you're going to face fast bowling, you're going to come up against guys who are bowling 150 (kph), you have to have a technique and a method to score. If they're going to keep coming at you and bowling at your rib cage, you have to find a way to score, and that's the game."

"If you keep looking to score off those lengths, and score one boundary, they are going to bowl the ball to your areas. In the nets it's very difficult to practise. Even in Australia we don't practise short balls. It's something that I feel - if you're practising the short ball all the time, in the game you start to be tentative. It's a reaction skill. And you have to remember that the bowlers are allowed to bowl only one (short ball in an over) in this format. That's a good thing for the batsmen," said Warner.

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