Dubai: Sunrisers Hyderabad have hailed their skipper David Warner’s immediate return to form despite Australia crashing to a narrow two-run defeat to England in their first T20 in Southampton late on Friday.
The former Australia captain made a neat 58 off 47 deliveries with four boundaries and a strike rate of 123.4 as Australia chased 163 in their allotted 20 overs at the Ageas Bowl on Friday night. But, the visitors faltered — in their first competitive match in six months — with a crumbling middle order failing to score the needed 39 runs from 36 balls.
But that didn’t keep the Sunrisers’s Orange Army from marking the return to form of their new skipper, who took armband from New Zealand’s Kane Williamson this season.
“David Warner is back! He’s back with a 50* and it didn’t look like he was away from cricket!” bragged the official Twitter handle of the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
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Warner marked his return with the Hyderabad outfit for the 2019 season after serving out a one-year ban for his part in the ball-tampering scandal in their series against South Africa. He celebrated his return in the IPL with a lusty 85 runs off 53 balls against the Kolkata Knight Riders, but ended up on the losing side.
Two days later, Warner scored an unbeaten 100 off 55 balls against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a comprehensive 118-run victory to register his fourth IPL century. He went on to finish the season as the leading run-scorer with 692 runs at an average of 69.20 to be awarded with the Orange Cap for the third time.
Earlier this year, Warner was reinstated as captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad while replacing Williamson, who has also joined the squad since Thursday.
Warner, who will turn 34 during the course of the 13th edition of the IPL in the UAE, gained immense popularity in India, especially during the lockdown period after his antics on the then-popular video-making platform, TikTok, that has now been banned by the Government of India. The Australian opener created funny videos with his family and re-created some South Indian movie scenes to win the fans’ hearts. He even invited Indian skipper Virat Kohli to join the platform.
Recently, TikTok was banned by the Indian government along with another 58 other Chinese applications. Since Warner was so active on the platform and most of his fans could not access the app, Indian players such as Ravichandran Ashwin and other Indian social media users tried to pull Warner’s leg by asking him what he would do next.
Popular web portal YouGov has listed Warner as the 17th most popular contemporary cricketer and the 11th most famous, while fans have described the Australian batsman as being “amazing” and a “winner”.