Sports

Sunrisers prepare to take on Dhoni's Super Kings in IPL final

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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MUMBAI, India (AFP) — Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson yesterday credited their run to the Indian Premier League (IPL) final to a quick recovery after the removal of scandal-tainted David Warner at the start of the Twenty20 tournament.

Williamson, a last-minute replacement for Australia's Warner as the Sunrisers' captain, is up against the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in the final in Mumbai today.

Sunrisers, the team of West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, have won the title under Warner in 2016, and topped the league table before suffering a losing streak. They regained form to beat Kolkata Knight Riders in the second qualifier.

“The captaincy absolutely came about fairly suddenly but it's been [an]enjoyable experience as a franchise,” Williamson told reporters in the pre-match press conference.

“It's great to be sitting here with Sunrisers in the final. David has been a great part of the franchise as a player as a leader.”

But he added that “as events unfolded things changed pretty quickly”.

“As a team it was important we gelled quickly together to try and start operating well as a unit,” the New Zealand captain said.

Sunrisers' Coach Tom Moody, who has been with the franchise since 2012, said Williamson had taken his leadership role like a “duck to water”.

For Dhoni, it has been a homecoming as captain of the Super Kings, who returned this season after a two-year corruption ban along with Rajasthan Royals.

Dhoni — who led Rising Pune Supergiant in 2016 and 2017 — said: “Last two years we were not there, but our fan following kept increasing.”

Dhoni, who has led Super Kings to two IPL titles, is part of a side with several players above 30 — an age often regarded as too old in the T20 format.

Players like Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo, who are 33 and 34 respectively, have played key roles in the team's road towards their record seventh IPL final.

“The age... of the boys was definitely a concern,” said the 36-year-old Dhoni.

“Because of the frequency of the game you had to manoeuvre your resources, so that when you come to the business end of the tournament the best XI is available for selection.”

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