Hyderabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad top the points table after their five-wicket win against Kings XI Punjab on Friday night, but their stand-in captain Cameron White believes they are still the underdogs in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
White, who led the team to its second consecutive win, does not see Sunrisers as the favourites.
"I think we are definitely very much still the underdogs. There are some big name franchises out there that are playing really very well. We fought hard in every game against any opposition but we definitely don't see ourselves as the favourites. We are fighting hard to keep winning. We are just happy to be playing well at the moment," White told reporters at the post-match press conference.
For him, Mumbai, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals and defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders are the favourites.
Sunrisers, which made their debut in this IPL replacing Deccan Chargers as the Hyderabad franchise, have 10 points from seven games.
White feels while it was good position to be in, they need to improve to win "four or more games, whatever it takes to qualify for the semi-finals".
"I think our bowling and fielding is going pretty well but obviously our batting still needs to improve a bit."
On captain Kumar Sangakkara not playing in the last two matches, the Australian said the selection committee took the decision to give him a break as he would not be available for the match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Chennai on April 25.
Sangakkara and Thisara Perera, the two Sri Lankan players in the team, will not be available for the match as all the players from the island have been pulled out of the IPL games in Chennai on the demand of the Tamil Nadu government.
White admitted that it would be tough to beat CSK in their home conditions. He said the absence of Sangakkara and Perera would also be a big blow for the team. He, however, said this would give an opportunity to other overseas players like Darren Sammy or Nathan McCullum.
On the victory against Punjab, White said the conditions suited them as the pitch was pretty nice with a bit of spin.
"It was great hitting by Thisara (Perera) at the end. We were all looking to get after the bowling in 14th or 15th over but they bowled well in combination on quite a tough pitch. Probably it was a little late but it was nice to have enough wickets in hands to really attack in the last couple of overs."
Perera hit three massive sixes off Azhar Mahmood in the 19th over to help Sunrisers reach 124 target with seven balls to spare.
On man-of-the match Hanuma Vihari, who was top scorer with 46, White said he played nicely. "He has played a couple of important innings for us. Today, I think was his best innings. He was nice and positive. He really set the run chase for us."
On leg-spinner Amit Mishra claiming purple cap with 11 wickets, he said it is great for Mishra. "He is bowling well and good to see him getting wickets. Mishy is getting lot of rewards at the moment. He is bowling beautifully."
"Everyone is bowling well. Karan Sharma has done a great job. Dale Steyn and Ishant (Sharma) are doing a great job supported by Thisara. It is a good team effort," he added.