Explosive and often controversial Australian opener David Warner has changed his approach to life and batting and the maturity has shown both at the international stage and in his brief stint so far for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League.
The stocky left-hander, who has been assigned middle-order responsibilities by the Sunrisers, has adjusted well to his new role. Warner has weathered the storm initially to take full toll on the bowling later, and the result so far has been his two half-centuries against the Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians.
On Wednesday, Warner smashed 65 to help set up Hyderabad's win over defending champions Mumbai Indians and coach Tom Moody praised him for living up to expectations.
"We recognized we had to consolidate our position (against Mumbai on Wednesday). The experience and quality of Warner came through. He was patient against the Delhi Daredevils at the same venue and made them pay after that little phase," Moody said after his team held its nerves to win a 15-run thriller in Dubai.
Warner was clearly frustrated against the Daredevils, when he failed to get going at the start of his innings and at one point even threw his gloves away to exhibit his disgust with himself. However, the stocky Aussie settled down to unleash a wide array of strokes and remained unbeaten on 58 off 45 balls as Sunrisers posted a commanding 184/1. Five days later, he was back in business against Mumbai as his side pulled off another victory.
Warner, who played for the Delhi Daredevils till the last season, has so far scored 12 half-centuries and two centuries in the IPL and is the only Sunrisers batsman with two fifties this year. Warner's consistency has fetched him 163 runs at an average of 40.75 in five matches so far and he is second only to fellow Australian Aaron Finch (169 @ 42.25) in the runs tally for the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The other positive to come out for the Sunrisers in Wednesday's victory was Lokesh Rahul's composure in the middle. The young Karnataka batsman scored 46 and was involved in a third-wicket stand of 111 with Warner, the team's second century-partnership this year.
For a team that was slammed for its weak batting last year, Hyderabad have looked stronger this year. Moody was visibly pleased with Rahul, all of 20, and someone who batted well beyond his years.
With Warner, Rahul and Finch beginning to click, it will be now up to Shikhar Dhawan to rediscover his touch and complement a strong bowling unit as the IPL returns to India on Friday after a successful first leg in the UAE.