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Cricket news - The dance of Warner and Bairstow
David Warner and Jonny Bairstow are a match made in hell, loved in Hyderabad.
One of the last reported incidents of an Australian stretching his hand to greet Bairstow saw him get a headbutt in response. On Sunday, Warner wasn't going to be formal. Even before Bairstow was out of his celebratory zone, Warner had come running for a full-blown bearhug. Bairstow, though, was still dazed as if he'd been unburdened of all his problems.
The English 'keeper might have had a good start to the IPL, but he was still new to the setup that has had its core intact for a few years, in a country he hasn't oft-visited and baking himself under the late afternoon Hyderabad summer heat. His nerves had started to jangle in the 90s, a point by when the RCB fielders had their hands on the hips and slowed down around the field, as he hesitantly declined a couple of quick runs.
It was an innings that largely showed assurance and an intent to dominate. Not only did he hog more strike while in company of Warner but he also outpaced the Australian in terms of scoring. Numerous records tumbled, as if they were all set a March-end deadline. Eventually, he whipped the first ball of the 16th overs towards the vacant mid wicket region and raced for a two to bring up his century.
The game paused. A spectacle began. The crowd cheered, Bairstow posed, Warner hugged, Twitter went berserk.
An Australian tugging along in an Englishman's accomplishment is so much of a 'moment' for the sport, let alone the showbiz that it accompanies. But Warner wasn't done yet. He had a century off his own to get to with only 22 deliveries remaining in the innings. With three balls left in the innings, he cut a ball past the backward point fielder to bring up his ton. The game paused again. And no one was complaining. Warner went on a celebratory run, planted his signature kiss to the emblem on his helmet and wielded his bat in an arc to thank the crowd.
It might have been his fourth century in IPL, an innings less significant than some of his others. Yet, what it meant to him is best not described. After all, he fits in a shoe that has only three pairs available. "I think the 12 months have done me well" - is how he chose to sum up.
He was warmed by the virtual embrace of the Sunrisers fans, wearing his name on their duplicate jerseys more than anyone else's. There was love from the crowd and vindication from his game. He hugged again, this time a giant Yusuf Pathan. This was Warner's dance.
But if emotion is what sells cricket to you, Bhuvneshwar Kumar proved to be quite an antagonist, resorting to a more subtle response on Warner's special day. "He knows that he is playing with the same attitude, with the extra fire. He is a proven performer for us. He is doing the same things again and again."
With Warner plugging quite an unconventional precursor to the Ashes, even his captain was pleasantly stumped. But whether it is the rivalry or the bonding, it has worked well for Sunrisers. By the time, Warner had hugged Bairstow, the duo had already slammed 185 runs - most by an opening pair. They had also notched up their third consecutive century-partnership: a feat not achieved by anyone else in the tournament's history. And by the time, the innings was over, the pair alone had a cumulative score of 224, 15 more than Sunrisers previous best team total.
It was also the only the second time in IPL that two batsmen had scored centuries in the same innings. The only difference was Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, who had achieved the feat the first time, were the hapless ones on Sunday.
"So far it was Warner, now it is Jonny who scored a hundred off 60-70 balls," Bhuvneshwar said. "It's always good to have two batsmen who can take the bowlers on. It was a treat to watch both of them bat today. They gave us perfect starts in all three matches. We hardly see the opening partnership getting less than 100 runs."
Now that Bairstow seems to have settled in well in his latest challenge, even in the globalised world of T20s, you are unlikely to currently find an opening partnership that's more destructive and merciless. And it has taken them all of three matches to set the record meters ticking.
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