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Cricket news - Warner had promised SRH 500 runs this season: Laxman

This season Warner notched eight fifties and a century in the 12 games he played.

At the end of their 12th game of the league phase of the Indian Premier League, Sunrisers Hyderabad stand fourth on the points table, with even one win in their last two games possibly good enough to help them seal a place in the playoffs. That they do find themselves in such a position despite their middle-order woes and the pace attack not doing as well as they have in the last few seasons, is largely due to the form of their overseas openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow.

While the English 'keeper-batsman dominated in limited-overs cricket in the last one year, Warner's stocks had fallen. Not only was he serving a ban from the national side but also battling issues with his elbow and below-par form in the T20 tournaments worldwide.

However, the destructive southpaw had promised his coach at Sunrisers Hyderabad - Tom Moody - 500 runs in return on his return to IPL, revealed VVS Laxman, the team's mentor.

"We were in the middle of a shoot in Hyderabad when Davey messaged head coach Tom Moody, promising us 500 runs for the season," Laxman wrote in a column in TOI. "It was no empty boast. It's one thing to set goals, but the determined manner in which Davey chased it down was wonderful to watch."

Having scored 500-plus in the last four seasons for the franchise - he missed the 2018 season - Warner was the strongest member in an otherwise weak batting unit. This season, too, he notched eight fifties and a century in the 12 games he played. And as he leaves for national duties at the end of the 12th game, he holds the Orange Cap with 692 runs to his credit - 172 ahead of the next-best (KL Rahul).

"What can I say about Warner? He has had a turbulent year or so, made worse by an elbow injury and we were a little apprehensive at the start of the season that he might be a bit rusty," Laxman said. "But Davey was truly outstanding... Davey is fortunate that he has tremendous mental resolve, and in his wife Candice, a very strong support system.

"When the schedule was out, we all knew that he would be available for 12 games. He eventually signed off with 692 runs, one of the main reason why we are in with a shot at the playoffs."

Even as Sunrisers are best placed, alongside Mumbai Indians, to bag the last two spots open for the playoffs, without the presence of their top two run-getters - Bairstow and Warner - their task is bound to get tougher. More than just the runs he scored, it was also that he scored them at a rate of 143.86 per hundred balls, which added to his ability to dominate proceedings. In fact, in the history of IPL, there are only three players who have scored more runs than the Australian - Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma - but none at a rate faster than him.

"The people of Hyderabad love him," Laxman added. "It's no mean feat to score 500 runs in a season five times in a row. Credit to Davey for not just doing so, but scoring at a breakneck pace. To fuse consistency with a high strike-rate speaks volumes of David Warner's skills."

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