CHANDIGARH: The SunRisers Hyderabad are literally having a ball in the IPL. Three matches, three wins, and three comprehensive outings that have left their oppositions’ willow-wielders scratching their heads for answers; such has been the balance that the Orange Army have exuded with that white, round, piece of leather. “Our bowlers have been outstanding. Nice that they’ve been able to do that consistently. The way they’ve responded in these three games has been brilliant,” chirped skipper Kane Williamson after besting Kolkata Knight Riders with five wickets to spare last Saturday.
And the SunRisers’ bowling statistics nodded in absolute unison. Among the top-ten in terms of economy rate in the IPL so far, five SunRisers make an appearance: Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shakib Al Hasan, Siddarth Kaul, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. They all have conceded seven runs or less in each of the overs that they’ve sent down. Billy Stanlake, a name which coupled with these men sums up all the bowling options his team has opted for, may pop up way down into that list (his economy rate is 7.66), but the tall man has also made many a literal dent on batsmen’s protective gear. Six among the ten entries for the fastest balls of the tournament are prepended with “Stanlake”.
Stanlake’s sheer pace, Bhuvneshwar’s adroitness, Shakib’s frugality, Rashid’s guile, and Kaul’s knuckle-balls. Each brings a set of skills that acts as a catalyst for the other. Their clash against Rajasthan Royals had already been halfwon by the time SunRisers doled out their quota of overs. Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane had soothed the initial jitters of D’Arcy Short’s first-over dismissal with a powerplay return of 48/1, but they had other plans. Rashid, Stanlake, Shakib and Kaul were juggled around by Williamson during the middle-overs. Those nine were sent down at an economy of 5.44, and five wickets were scalped. The death overs completed the death knell, with the per-over economy spiking by only 0.16, apart from three more dismissals.
The visitors doddered to 125/9 and didn’t have six to their name. SunRisers rolled up the match with nine wickets and 25 balls to spare. A similar template was followed in their next two clashes. Rashid sent down an astounding 18 dot balls in his 24 against Mumbai Indians. Mumbai had only 147/8 to show, and SunRisers overcame a few batting judders to squeak past them with a wicket to spare. Stanlake’s 140kmph-plus scuds left Kolkata reeling in the next, and a fivewicket triumph was pocketed.
Though teams have gotten good starts against them , Sun- Risers have been stellar in the overs that follow. Their middleover economy rate stands at 6.04 (with 11 wickets taken in the period). That figure moves up to only 6.4 for the death overs, with nine wickets to boot. Though many might argue that two-paced surfaces may have aided the SunRisers so far, the pacy pitch in Mohali may still see SunRisers bowlers make a fist of it against Kings XI Punjab, come Thursday