On Sunday night, SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) lost 10-run to Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2021 season opener. SRH’s fast bowlers were ripped apart by Nitish Rana’s 56-ball 80, which helped KKR post a total of 187/6. SunRisers had a bad start, but half-centuries from Manish Pandey and Jonny Bairstow helped them get closer to the goal, but they couldn’t get over the top. SRH’s team management made a number of odd decisions during the match, but the one that enraged fans the most was the decision to rule out New Zealand superstar Kane Williamson.
Williamson was seen warming up on the bench at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, with SRH’s four overseas players being David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Rashid Khan, and Mohammad Nabi.
Unfair with Kane Williamson keeping him on bench he is world class player.— Sunil (@Sunildreamguy) April 11, 2021
This is Injustice , underutilization & contempt. It is heartbreaking to see someone like him not playing!What a Captain!What a Player! Every Year has a same story better is to let him play for new team or let him practise for WTC afterall He is a National Captain#KaneWilliamson— Pranjal Chaurasia (@PranjalChaura18) April 11, 2021
Fans were evidently dissatisfied with the decision to exclude Williamson, and they took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.
Wriddhiman Saha and Warner will open for SRH, with Bairstow forced down to two-down.
Another decision that attracted criticism was Vijay Shankar’s decision to bat ahead of Abdul Samad, despite the fact that SRH needed fast runs. Shankar was dismissed for 11 runs off 7 balls, while Samad smashed an undefeated 19 runs off 8 balls.
In the absence of Warner, Williamson captained SRH in 2018. That season, the New Zealander put in some outstanding batting performances, scoring 735 runs at an average of 52.50 and a strike rate of 142.44 in 17 matches.
He only played nine matches the next season, making 156 runs.
Williamson was initially left out of the UAE 2020 season, but he went on to play 12 matches for SRH, scoring 317 runs at an average of 45.28 and a strike rate of 133.75.
On Wednesday, SRH will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai.