Hyderabad: After long years of poor show, the turnaround of fortunes for Hyderabad in the new season has simply been stunning and inspiring. The Tanmay Agarwal-led Hyderabad is on a roll in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament and they are two matches away from first-ever domestic title after the 1986-87 season when MV Narasimha Rao won the Ranji Trophy. Incidentally, it was held in Delhi and at the same venue. Is this the moment of reckoning for Hyderabad?
As Hyderabad face holders Tamil Nadu in the 8.30 am start in the first semifinals at Arun Jaitely Stadium in Delhi, all eyes will be on the Milap Mewada-coached team who has turned the side into a winning unit. The team is exuding confidence. They have reasons to be in an upbeat mood as they have won all their six matches, five in Elite Group E and the quarterfinal match against Gujarat on Thursday.
For the first time there are three teams from the South in the semifinals of the premier tournament. Karnataka take on Vidarbha in the second semifinal. Coming to Hyderabad’s match against a strong Tamil Nadu, toss could play a crucial factor. A 8.30 am start means there will be a lot of moisture in the wicket and the team opting to bowl could have the advantage. Mewada agreed that it could be a big factor but nevertheless said it is a challenge to play in the semifinals. “We are ready and raring to go. The boys have been playing fantastic cricket thus far and tomorrow will be another match for them. The batting runs in deep and has a good set of bowlers,” he said.
Tanmay is on a high, both as a captain and as a batter. From a disastrous start to his tenure as a captain, he has been a revelation in this tournament. He marshalled the team very well and at the same time has been in tremendous form with the willow. He is the highest scorer with 233 runs from six matches.
“It is a pleasing sight to see when a captain is leading from the front, both with the bat and with his leadership skills,” said Mewada. The team has shown tremendous bonhomie as they look to the team’s win rather than the individual glory. Most importantly, apart from individual’s performance, the players are chipping in with their own contribution when it matters . The classic example is B Sandeep, who is a vital cog in the team. If he fails with the bat, he excels in the field with dynamics in the field either with the ball or through his athleticism on the field. The two catches and a run out against Gujarat was a pure delight to the coach.
The batting of Tilak Varma has also been exceptional and Mewada confidently says he is the next big cricketer from Hyderabad. “He is in a different zone. There is class, elegance and aggression in his game,” added Mewada. Another young player who caught the eye is Buddhi Rahul. “This boy plays fearless cricket. On Thursday, he defended the first four balls and then in the next 12 balls, he hit 25 runs. He knows when to accelerate. He has a good temperament and technique.”
The bowlers, led by left-arm seamer CV Milind, have been accurate and incisive. Milind now has 18 wickets to be the top wicket-taker. But bowlers like Rakshann, T Ravi Teja (both medium pacers), Tanay Thyagarajan (left-arm spin) are penetrative and effective. “They are executing the plans excellently,” said Mewada.
Come Saturday, it will be a big test against a big team like Tamil Nadu, who have seasoned players in their ranks.
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