David Warner is one of the best players in IPL history, and among the best overseas players in the tournament. He has been a part of the IPL for a long time and is a famous face in India and the IPL. While Warner is a famous face in India, he is a player who is adopted by a city. David Warner and Hyderabad have been synonymous in a manner similar to Dhoni and Chennai. Warner’s best time came in Hyderabad, and it was during his seven-year journey in Hyderabad where Warner scored buckets of runs.
He first came to Hyderabad in 2014 with the likes of Finch, Sammy and Dhawan in the squad. Since the side had a lot of openers, David Warner dropped down to the middle-order but came back to the top when the Sunrisers were struggling. He was in great form during his stint in the middle, but the move to the topic provided additional help, and Warner announced his entry to the opening spot with a 90 against the Chennai Super Kings. He scored the most for SRH in the season, but his efforts weren’t enough as Hyderabad failed to qualify.
In 2015, David Warner started his journey as skipper of the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Up until then, the Sunrisers motive was to look for some runs with the bat and blow teams away with the might of Dale Steyn. They added Trent Boult to their line-up this season, but the plan of using their bowling stopped working with Dale Steyn getting rusty. As a result, David Warner carried the team through the tournament. He led from the best, and was their best batter. He made seven fifties, and also finished with the orange cap, but couldn’t take his team into the playoffs.
Sunrisers not making the playoffs in 2015 started something special. After 2015, the team began a mission, and went on to become the most consistent team over the next five years. They continued to dominate with their bowling while the likes of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan held the batting line-up. 2016 was a prime example of their approach to the IPL. David Warner backed the likes of Mustafizur Rahman and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was the purple cap winner. With them going well, Sunrisers went on to win the tournament, and also won quiet a few games defending, which seemed a tough task in 2016.
While David Warner the leader did a very good job in 2016, the batter did even better. He carried the line-up on his own and made nine fifties through the tournament. IPL 2016 is famous for Virat Kohli’s tally of 973 runs, the tally often overshadows David Warner’s efforts. Through the season, David Warner made 848 runs, a tally that would give him the orange cap in any other season. He complimented the strong bowling unit nicely by constantly giving his bowlers something to defend. Through the tournament he played some wonderful knocks, and his innings in the qualifier against Gujarat Lions was beyond special. With Hyderabad struggling in the run chase, David Warner held an end up, and kept countering the bowlers. He took the game deep, and won with minimal support from his team. He repeated the feat in the finals, with quick fifty early in the innings, and set the Sunrisers up for a good score, which eventually let them win the tournament for the first time.
David Warner continued leading the same side in 2017, and found ways to dominate again. He finished with 641 runs, and won the orange cap by a fair margin. Through the tournament he came up with some big knocks. A standout knock in the season for Warner was his 126 against Kolkata Knight Riders. The knocked proved his dominance in the IPL, as he made strides to become the best IPL batter in history. His century came in the eleventh over and David Warner could have easily threatened Chris Gayle’s 175 had he batted through. He led Sunrisers into the playoffs again, and scored 500+ runs for the fourth time in a row. He won the orange cap for a second time, and by 2017 David Warner was truly a Hyderabad local.
Due to the ball-tampering scandal, David Warner couldn’t play in 2018. Despite all that went on though, the Sunrisers Hyderabad backed their player, and retained him for 2019. He came into the tournament with a lot of vengeance. Looking to make up for the lost time, and win hearts back after the incident, David Warner was at his consistent best. He slotted back as the opener, and was only available for twelve games, but he dominated the IPL in that small period. He had a new opening partner in Jonny Bairstow, and the two openers wrecked bowlers in the IPL. In 12 games, Warner finished with 692 runs, making eight fifties and a hundred. He was consistent, aggressive and full of intent. He won the orange cap having played only 12 games in the tournament and his early blitz was enough for Sunrisers to get into the playoffs for the fourth time in a row.
In 2020, David Warner was appointed captain again. The season though didn’t go as well. With Covid looming and teams in bio-bubbles, the IPL had a different atmosphere to it. David Warner himself had some struggles, and was found out by bowlers like Kagiso Rabada and Jofra Archer. Sunrisers didn’t get off to a strong start, and struggled to push on like many teams in the tournament. Despite their inconsistency, Sunrisers looked best placed to take on table topper Mumbai, who looked unbeatable, and competed well against them in the group stage games.
After a couple of early losses, David Warner and Sunrisers found some momentum, but lost key players like Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the process. With Kumar out, David Warner put his faith in T Natarajan, and the move to use him turned out to be a masterstroke. Warner was effective in his use of Natarajan, gave the bowler confidence, and Natarajan turned out to be a weapon in the death overs. Warner’s own form started picking up as well as the tournament went on. He got the team off to good starts but lack of support from the middle-order affected Hyderabad. The tournament eventually went into a must-win situation for Hyderabad, and they responded well as they beat the top three teams, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, in a row to make the playoffs. They made the playoffs for the fifth time in a row, but looked nowhere near qualification half way through the tournament. David Warner led from the front again, making 548 runs and finishing with 500+ runs for the sixth season in a row. Sunrises eventually lost in the second qualifier, but their fight back was inspirational given the lack of resources in the side due to injuries.
David Warner started as captain again in 2021, but for some reason the tournament never kicked off for both him and Hyderabad. He made two fifties in the first leg, but was far slower than his usual self. As the first leg went on, issues began in the management, and some of David Warner’s post-match comments were reportedly not taken well. With David Warner’s aggression missing, and the team in poor form, he was replaced as captain and subsequently dropped. Warner had a chance of redemption in UAE as he came back as an opener. He played in only a couple of games though, and failed to score big which led to his dropping.
He ended up on the bench for the rest of the tournament, ending a dream run in the Sunrisers Hyderabad, which saw him grow into one of the best batters in the tournament. His rise was rapid, his fall was even more rapid, but David Warner was and is the best skipper Sunrisers has had and among the best players the IPL has seen. An era has ended as his journey with Hyderabad ends, but he now goes back to his old team in Delhi, and will be looking to rock again as Delhi search for their first IPL title.