Warner signs off in style as Sunrisers put Kings XI in the shade

By Sports Desk April 29, 2019

David Warner starred in his final appearance in this year's Indian Premier League, helping Sunrisers Hyderabad record a clinical 45-run win over Kings XI Punjab.

The Australia batsman, who will miss the closing stages of the campaign to prepare for the Cricket World Cup, made a top score of 81 in Hyderabad's imposing total of 212-6.

Opening partner Wriddhiman Saha contributed 28 - hitting three fours and a six during his brief 13-ball innings - while Manish Pandey added 36 to the cause, putting on 82 with Warner for the second wicket.

KL Rahul made 79 in reply, but Kings XI never threatened to succeed in pursuit of such a sizeable score, particularly once the dangerous Chris Gayle departed for just four at the start of the third over.

Mayank Agarwal (27) and Nicholas Pooran (21) contributed to the cause, yet Kings XI's chase was curtailed by losing three wickets to leg-spinner Rashid Khan, including skipper Ravichandran Ashwin for a first-ball duck.

Khaleel Ahmed claimed 3-40 as the innings subsided following Rahul's departure, eventually ending on 167-8.

Victory helps Hyderabad consolidate fourth place in the table, while Kings XI six two points behind them in what looks set to be a hotly contested race to reach the play-offs.



Warner rounded out a hugely impressive IPL campaign with a ninth score of 50 or more in 12 innings.

The left-hander hit a pair of sixes and seven fours in his 56-ball knock on Monday, taking his tally for the year to 692 runs. He sits comfortably clear on the top-scorers list, with Rahul his nearest challenger on 520.

A second century of the season appeared on the cards for Warner until he sliced Ashwin to backward point at the end of the 16th over.

Still, his departure from India - following on from former opening partner Jonny Bairstow's return to England - leaves a sizeable void at the top of the Sunrisers' batting order.


Bhuvneshwar Kumar actually caught Pooran twice in the 13th over. 

The India seamer held on to a pull shot at deep fine leg when the batsman went after a short ball from Khaleel, only to step over the boundary rope as he failed to halt his momentum in time.

However, Kumar judged his second attempt four balls later perfectly, moving in from his position in the deep to claim a top edge from the same batsman with the aid of a dive, snatching the ball just prior to it reaching the turf.

Rahul battled on bravely after the fall of the third wicket, but his lone hand could not save Kings XI from a third straight defeat. They have just two games remaining to break into the top four and extend their season.

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    Australia were dealt a huge Ashes blow on Tuesday when Steve Smith was ruled out of the third Test at Headingley.

    Smith has been in quite incredible form in England, with knocks of 144 and 142 at Edgbaston as the tourists took a 1-0 lead, before following up with 92 at Lord's.

    But with Smith suffering a concussion at the Home of Cricket, Australia could only battle bravely to a draw and the series remains tantalisingly in the balance.

    Smith is not fit to feature in Leeds and England will understandably be eager to take on a batting order missing its brightest star.

    Who could step up for Australia and prove they are not a one-man show? We take a look.



    Warner, like Smith, is playing Test cricket for the first time since a 12-month ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

    But unlike Smith, the former vice-captain has performed dismally, failing to rediscover the form that made him one of the world's best openers.

    The 32-year-old has a career Test average of 46.9, but he has yet to manage double-figures across four innings in this series.

    Hugely underwhelming efforts of two, eight, three and five have seen him depart three times to Stuart Broad, before Jofra Archer got him on day five at Lord's.

    Without the security of Smith at number four, Warner simply must be better.



    It says much for Smith's sensational form that Australia lead the series, away from home, despite neither of their openers firing.

    Warner has been dismal with the bat, but Bancroft - another back in the Test fold following suspension - has fared little better.

    Bancroft has a far more modest reputation than Warner, but he has the talent to perform at a far higher level than he has shown in the past two matches.

    The 26-year-old was in excellent form for Durham while his team-mates were in Cricket World Cup action, yet that has not translated to the Test scene.

    Knocks of 13 and 16 at Lord's were poor and yet considerable improvements on eight and seven at Edgbaston.



    Paine might be the captain in name, but his leadership qualities have been questioned with Smith, the former skipper, back in the mix.

    However, with Smith out, Paine must step up in more ways than one. Leading by example with the bat would certainly be a good start.

    While Smith has been smashing centuries, Paine has mustered just 66 in total across four knocks.

    His poorest total of all so far (four in the second innings at Lord's) came when Australia needed their captain most, digging in to reach the end of the day - even if Joe Denly took a remarkable catch.

    There will be more pressure in the third Test, where England will have their tails up, and Paine must step up this time.



    It was Smith's direct replacement Marnus Labuschagne, the concussion substitute, who stepped up in his absence at Lord's, contributing a vital 100-ball 59.

    Labuschagne will surely get the opportunity to impress again in Leeds, but Australia really should have enough batting talent in their ranks without needing to call on a deputy.

    Usman Khawaja (career average 41.4) has made 13, 40, 36 and two. Travis Head (49.9) has been slightly better with 35, 51, seven and a brave unbeaten 42. Both could improve.

    Matthew Wade's series has been ludicrously inconsistent: one, 110, six and one. More single-figures will be damaging next time out.

    There are plenty of men capable of stepping into the void, but that might be easier said than done when Smith is gone and Jofra Archer is hitting his stride.

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    Sri Lanka cruised to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand as Dimuth Karunaratne scored his first century in 23 innings on day five of the first Test in Galle.

    Karunaratne - who had reached 71 not out to lead Sri Lanka to 133-0 at the close of day four - scored 122 as he maintained his perfect record as Test captain.

    Tom Latham's drop let Karunaratne off the hook early in Sunday's play and, though the hosts eventually lost their skipper when he edged Tim Southee behind, the damage was already done.

    Angelo Matthews (28 not out) picked up the mantle and with the umpires granting an extension prior to lunch he sealed the win, and 60 ICC Test Championship points, when he nudged Trent Boult for a single, with Sri Lanka successfully chasing down 267, bettering their previous record run chase at Galle (99).

    After a superb knock in the last session of day four, Karunaratne picked up where he left off, clipping New Zealand's spin bowlers around the pitch with ease.

    Karunaratne hit six fours and one maximum, with that huge hit over midwicket from Ajaz Patel bringing up a 150 partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne (64), who was dismissed three overs later when the Black Caps reviewed an initially unsuccessful lbw appeal.

    Kusal Mendis (10) was quick to stamp his authority on proceedings - hitting William Somerville for four on his second delivery before he launched a six over long on.

    Mendis' cameo was a short one, though, with Patel drawing a lazy sweep that Sri Lanka's number three wedged straight to Jeet Raval.

    But Matthews steadied the ship, keeping the strike ticking over between himself and Karunaratne, and the latter ended his long wait for a ninth Test hundred when he lobbed Patel for four.

    With the hosts firmly in control, Sri Lanka's batsmen picked up the pace and, though Southee ended Karunaratne's innings before Kusal Perera (23) sent a Boult delivery to Mitchell Santner, Matthews gave Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the two-match series four overs later.

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    Steve Waugh says Australia must stand by opener Cameron Bancroft "for the long term" despite his tough start to the Ashes.

    Bancroft's first three knocks of the series in England have returned eight, seven and 13, while he was the victim of Jofra Archer's maiden Test wicket at Lord's on Friday.

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    It is Bancroft, 26, whose position is being questioned at this stage, but Waugh, the team's mentor, is preaching faith in the Durham captain.

    "I thought Bancroft hung in there pretty well," Waugh said after Australia ended a rain-affected third day on 80-4 in their first innings, 178 runs behind.

    "He just needed to spend another half-hour there, get a few more balls away out of the middle and he would have been right.

    "It's a fine line. You can analyse and scrutinise players but that's Test match cricket. Sometimes you are going to miss out. If you pick a guy, you back him for the long term and, right now, we are confident those guys are going to bounce back.

    "[Bancroft and Warner] both want to get a lot more runs obviously, but Test match cricket is tough. It's challenging and the conditions over here are not easy for batting.

    "It's not as if the ball is coming on and you can play a big cover drive. You have to work really hard for every run.

    "And both bowling attacks are world class. You are up against some really quality bowlers who have taken a lot of wickets, have a lot of experience and a lot of know-how, and you've got to work hard for your runs."

    In a further defence of Bancroft, Waugh added: "Cameron's preparation for this Test was excellent. He looked really good in the nets and he's pretty relaxed at the moment.

    "He'd like some more runs but I am backing him to do well. He's a thoroughly professional cricketer, a nice, decent guy who works hard at his game.

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