The table topper Sunrisers Hyderabad is usually pretty much used to of the blitz of Warner in their frontline batting line up but due to the recent ball-tampering scandal, the biggy of SRH missed his this year’s IPL stint. He has been their best batsman, not just launching them off to ballistic starts but also standing strong against some fragility in the middle-order. Hence with the flashing of the confirmation news that he will not be part of IPL 2018, the Orange Army had already been shifted on the backfoot thinking of ways to deal with this massive setback.

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Then only the name Alex Hales flashes in the list of overseas players to be taken in replacement of David Warner. This particular signing of Alex Hales was a bit dicey, that might be the reason why he didn’t find himself in the starting eleven owing to team combination. Wriddhiman Saha, Ricky Bhui, Kane Williamson – all had their experimentation to consolidate the opening slot in Warner’s absence, but 6, 32, 14, 0, 20, 1 were the numbers the opening partnerships in six out of seven games could be able to manage. On Saturday (May 5), Hales finally got the scope to fit in the most experimented spot of the team, opening slot and trust me he owned it. He launched a magnificent blitz to take SRH off to the victorious campaign against Delhi Daredevils.

There was a competitive 164, but to achieve the total Sunrisers needed a good beginning. The wicket was bowler-friendly and runs can only be scores until the moment the ball stays new because that was the only time when the ball was coming on to bat better. The England and Middlesex batsman also fell into the trap of the promising pacer Avesh Khan, whose short ball ploy almost worked as Hales miscued a pull high in the air, only for Glenn Maxwell to grass it at deep midwicket. Avesh kept on continuing in his stapler theory. However, the former number one T20I batsman was street-smart with his shuffle in the crease, not allowing the bowlers to bowl in the areas they wanted to.

Avesh was adamant on bowling short and Hales on the other end kept on pulling over mid-wicket and when it was full, the target was shifted to mid off. The bouncer has again been tried but he made room and slashed the ball over the off-side. He hit three sixes in an over which brought the momentum-changing 27-run in that particular over. That’s how Warner used to guide SRH in his heydays in the orange jersey. That is the same thing Hales is emulating and it was indeed a big boost for SRH.

“I move around (in the crease) to put the bowlers off their lengths and it’s something I’ve worked on behind the scenes. Sometimes I do stand still and look to clear the infield, need to make the most when only two fielders are inside the ring,” Hales said after his impressive 31-ball 45.

“It was good to be playing, had to wait for my chance. Had to make sure that I worked hard and be ready for the moment. Got a bit of luck, dropped by Maxi. Had to do well in the powerplay, it was a pretty decent wicket with the new ball,” the opener added further.

Hales’ power-hitting endeavor is absolutely vital for the Sunrisers that the openers get starts and let Williamson bat with a stabilized freedom. Also, Hales succeeding in successive games and being a right-hander perfectly compliments his counterpart Shikhar Dhawan and allows SRH to create a solid left-right combo at the top.

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