Hyderabad made a late surge into the playoffs on the back of three consecutive victories in their last three matches of the league stage and one of the main architects behind their late resurgence was Wriddhiman Saha, the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman.
The Hyderabad think-tank took a bold decision to drop Jonny Bairstow, who was misfiring at the top of the order, in their 12th match of the season against Delhi and replaced him with Saha. The decision seemed quite bizarre as Saha had amassed just 208 runs in the last two Indian T20 League seasons at a dismal average of 16.
However, the move paid off big time for Hyderabad as Saha went on to smash 87 off just 45 deliveries in his very first outing at the top of the order. After just four innings in this edition, Saha has 214 runs to his name and that too at an excellent average of 71.33. Hyderabad will be hoping to see him bat in the same way in their all-important Eliminator against Bangalore on Friday as well.
Major skill on display: Impeccable timing and range against both pace and spin
Saha is not a power-hitter like Bairstow but what he has is the sense of timing and the range of playing shots all around the ground. In all of his outings at the top of the order, it never appeared like he was trying to force any shot. He kept piercing the gaps by playing classical copybook lofted drives and punches, and those helped him in getting good results as well. Saha also showed how strong he is against both spin and pace. While 119 of his total runs this season have come against pace, at a strike-rate of 145.12, the remaining 95 have come against spin at a good scoring rate of 133.80 once again.
Highest batting average among batsmen with a minimum of 200 runs
Saha's batting average of 71.33 is the best among players who have scored a minimum of 200 runs in this edition of the Indian T20 League. He finds himself ahead of players like Kieron Pollard (64.75), KL Rahul (55.83), Ishan Kishan (53.00) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (51.00) among others.
Highest Powerplay Strike-rate
Among batsmen who have faced a minimum of 30 deliveries in the first six overs of an innings combined in this season, Saha's strike-rate of 169.05 is the highest. The 36-year-old has faced 42 deliveries in the Powerplay this edition and scored 72 runs without being dismissed even once.
Saha helped Hyderabad to quick starts in each of the last three league matches, something they were lacking in the previous games. Hyderabad's scores at the end of the Powerplay in each of the last three matches were 56/0, 58/1 and 77/0 respectively. And Saha had contributed 28*(17), 21*(15) and 22*(10) on each of those occasions.
Wall of Praise
Very smart batting by @Wriddhipops!— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 27, 2020
Improvised his shots after picking the line and length of the ball. There was no slogging at all. Played a fantastic innings which I thoroughly enjoyed watching.#SRHvDC #IPL2020
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Hyderabad