Tom Moody, the Sunrisers Hyderabad coach, is methodical in every aspect, be it talking to his team in a huddle or answering questions from scribes.
After monitoring a sharp net session with the main batsmen on Thursday (May 14), he went over to the bowling group training under Muttiah Muralitharan’s hawk eyes for feedback. David Warner, the captain, was then summoned and the three had a lengthy discussion. In the end, when they dispersed, there was laughter all around and a look of satisfaction on Moody’s face as he arrived to address the media.
It’s not hard to understand why. Hyderabad have won three games on the trot and are currently placed third in the points table with 14 points from seven wins. They have won both their matches at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium so far, and with two games to follow at the same venue, the confidence is sky high.
First up on Friday are Royal Challengers Bangalore, a team against whom they had the better of the exchanges when the sides last met at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium a month ago. Moody brushed aside history, but was confident that on current form, his side was more than capable of derailing Virat Kohli’s men.
“RCB are a strong side, particularly since they have made the adjustment to their batting order. But as we saw last night, they like anyone can fall short of personal totals or team totals that need to be chased down,” Moody said. “We have played well against RCB at home in the past and we intend to do the same tomorrow night.”
One of the reasons for Moody’s confidence is the surge in the team’s batting fortunes. With 504 runs, Warner is the leading run-getter in the competition at this stage. While there was concern earlier in the tournament over the team’s dependence on Warner and Shikhar Dhawan, the belligerence and consistency of Moises Henriques at No. 3 has lent much needed depth to the middle order. With Eoin Morgan also finding his bearings, it is a batting line-up brimming with confidence.
“I think we have shown over the last five games that it is not a one-man show and there are other players who make a contribution,” Moody said. “Moises Henriques has made a match-winning contribution, Eoin Morgan has made a match-winning contribution, and we have got other players who have come in and made contributions at the back end.
“Ashish Reddy, when he was playing, made a quick 20 in good style, KL Rahul the other night got a good cameo to help top up our total. Everyone plays a role. Yes, we have got a couple of star players that are in form. Warner has got the Orange Cap, which is great. I am sure he will want to keep the Orange Cap. So he has got two of them (referring to the fact that Hyderabad’s primary colour is orange).”
The one word banished in the camp, Moody said, was pressure. He also emphatically stated that the team wasn’t bothered about the mathematics, as the focus was firmly on securing a playoff berth first.
“It is really up to me and the rest of the support staff to make sure that we concentrate on the very next game and not look too far beyond that or look at other results,” he said. “You can easily fall into the trap of watching other games and hoping this team loses. It is not going to affect our position in the league. We will leave that to the supporters because that is an interesting way to follow it. We have got two games left at home and we want to win the two games that we are playing here.”
Questions on Kevin Pietersen’s availability were inevitable. “He was supposed to arrive tomorrow evening. But unfortunately he pulled up a little sore, he wasn’t really concerned about it but he pulled up a little sore after his triple hundred. It’s quite unfortunate for both parties that he won’t feature this year.”