Australia’s David Warner on Monday (29) hit a scintillating 81 to seal his comeback from scandal in his last Indian Premier League game before heading to the World Cup.
Warner’s knock off 56 balls powered Hyderabad to a 45-run win over Kings XI Punjab after posting a mammoth 212 for six and improve their chances of making the play-offs.
The left-handed opener ended the Twenty20 tournament on top of the batting chart with 692 runs including eight fifties and a century in 12 innings.
“It’s obviously great to get out there and do your job properly,” Warner said after receiving the man of the match award at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
“The ground staff have worked tirelessly to prepare good wickets and then it’s about going back to basics and backing your instincts,” he added.
Warner and Smith served a 12-month ban for cheating in a Cape Town Test in March last year along with teammate Cameron Bancroft, who was banned for nine months.
But the disgraced duo have brought back the focus to their game ahead of Australia’s World Cup training camp in Brisbane starting Thursday.
Warner said he worked hard on his game during the suspension period and the results are there see.
“I think it just goes back to being still as a batsman. I get the tendency to moving around a bit if there have been a few dots. But I have worked hard over the last few months, said Warner.
“Just put the bat down and tried to be the best man I can be, the best husband I can be and that’s worked for me.”
Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan also played a hand in giving a perfect send off to Hyderabad teammate Warner after returning figures of 3-21 and restrict Punjab to 167-8.
Indian batsman Lokesh Rahul top-scored with 79 off 56 deliveries but stood alone among the batting ruins of a side that will now find it difficult to make the play-offs.
For Hyderabad it was the opening pair of Warner and England batsman Jonny Bairstow, who also left home for World Cup preparations last week, that formed the bulk of their success so far.
The Aussie-English duo gave the team many blazing starts including IPL’s best ever opening stand of 185 last month and skipper Kane Williamson praised their efforts.
“They have been world class throughout this whole campaign for us and put us in really strong positions,” said Williamson, who will captain New Zealand in the World Cup starting May 30.
“There is still lot of work to do. It has to be a collective effort. Very hard to fill someone’s boot directly, (but) the team will have to pick up some slack and perform our roles like any other day.”