In two consecutive matches against the four-time winner Chennai Super Kings and the debutant in the league, Gujarat Titans, the 31-year-old has not only made some solid runs, but also mentored Abhishek Sharma beautifully for his side to reverse the trend after two losses against Rajasthan Royals and the Lucknow Super Giants.
A remarkable cricketer who has changed the face of New Zealand cricket, by his own
Individual deeds with the bat and leadership, Williamson is a regular fixture in the Hyderabad franchise team that won the title in 2016 under the leadership of David Warner. Williamson was not in the playing eleven though, with the four foreigners in the winning team being Warner, Moises Henriques, Ben Cutting and Mustafizur Rahman.
As captain Wilkinson has led the franchise in 37 matches and won 18, not spectacular but as the adage goes, the captain is only as a good as his team, and the calm and composed New Zealander is no exception. As captain he has scored 1156 runs at 37.39, as against 1992 at 39.06 when as just a batter. He has scored 1268 runs at No.3, and 262 as an opener and 395 at No.4. He has also batted at 5 and 6, in all in four matches.
As a tactical move, especially in the absence of Warner, who was picked by the Delhi Capitals at the auction, Williamson has given himself the option to open the proceeding with left-hander Sharma, whom the franchise bought at Rs. 6.5 crore and have given him a big responsibility.
Williamson made 32 off 40 balls against Chennai and allowed Sharma to steal the show with a brilliant 75, and then he made 57 off 46 balls to get the better of Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat Titans. It was a clinical display by Williamson who has – with two wins – kept his team in the running for a playoffs berth. The first wicket partnerships against Chennai and the Titans was 89 and 64 respectively.
Williamson did not start the league well, adjudged caught in the slip by Devdutt Parikkal for 2. Replays suggested it was a bump catch, but the third umpire thought differently.
Williamson is one of the captains who has played his part, as batter and strategist, in the ongoing league. With a long haul in the league awaiting, he will make a strong bid to put his team in the business end of the league. There is no doubt it.
Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul Impressive
The other captains who have made an impact and met with some successes are the Titans’ Pandya, Kolkata Knight Riders’ Shreyas Iyer and to an extent Rajasthan Royals’ Sanju Samson, Royal Challengers’ Faf du Plessis and the Lucknow Super Giants’ KL Rahul. The captain of each team will be tested as the league proceeds further.
After four straight defeats, Ravindra Jadeja opened his winning points account on Tuesday against the Bangalore side. He had the luck, with Robin Uthappa and Shivam Dube hammering away to post a match winning total. There was much relief for Jadeja after registering his win as CSK skipper.
The Titans’ Pandya, given the opportunity, has truly taken the centre stage. He has batted fluently and bowled with enthusiasm and vigour. He has used his bowling resources well and currently, his team is fourth in the points table. Under scrutiny on the fitness count, Pandya has bowled four overs in each of the four matches. He is the fulcrum around which the Titans will function right through the league. So far Pandya has been impressive without giving the slightest hint that captaincy cares are weighing him down. That’s a good sign.
The last year’s finalist KKR bought Iyer (Shreyas) at the mega auction and made him the captain. He has used fast bowler Umesh Yadav in the power play and deployed the mystery bowlers Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy tactfully. He scored a splendid half century against the Capitals which put too many runs on the board at the Brabourne Stadium. KKR is among the top four in the leader board and should make headway and clinch a place in the payoffs.
Sanju Samson began in style against the Sunrisers with a superb 55 and his team won by 61 runs. With Jos Buttler and Padikkal at the top of the order (Padikkal has come in place at the top at the expense of Yashasvi Jaiswal) the Royals have a high quality opening pair. Buttler has already cracked a century and is in form. Samson has a quality attack in Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal to work with. The Royals have the talent to make the knock-out.
Bangalore’s Faf du Plessis began with a fine 88 against Punjab Kings in a high scoring match. He has not been able to maintain the high standard, but he has used his resources to win three out of five games.
On Tuesday Chennai”s Uthappa and Dube went on a leather hunt against his bowling department. He missed Harshal Patel who had to leave the Bangalore camp because of the demise of his sister. But Glenn Maxwell has resumed service for the team which has the strength to progress to the elimination stage.
Lucknow’s KL Rahul, without making a noise, has been operating his team efficiently. He doesn’t have the most ideal combination in the bowling department, but has the batting firepower to sustain performance to take a place in the top four.
Rohit Sharma has Task Cut Out
The unlucky ones in the league have been Mumbai Indians’ Rohit Sharma, Jadeja, the Mohali side’s Mayank Agarwal. Sharma and Mumbai should have notched two wins, but the five-time winners frittered it away against Delhi and Kolkata. Without a win Sharma’s task is cut out.
Jadeja has scored a win, but the all-rounder depends on MS Dhoni to take decisions. But the most important thing is, he has a win against Bangalore. Jadeja will be a little more confident from the next match. Punjab Kings and the Capitals have four points and surely Agarwal and Pant have the support systems to help them. Agarwal has Anil Kumble and Pant, Ricky Ponting.
The fortunes of the captain can change; for the better or worse. All teams have the personnel to come up with ripostes, but after 22 matches, it looks as though the Sunrisers’ Williamson has proved his mettle as a leader.