Hyderabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kumar Sangakkara on Thursday said that he would like his teammates to play to their strength when they take on the Pune Warriors in their opening match of the Indian Premier League here on Friday.
"It is going to be a tough game. Pune Warriors have got a very good team. They have some great players. We are just looking to play to our strengths," Sangakkara told reporters on the eve of the match here. "We had good discussions about what we are trying to do. Hopefully, we will execute everything well and the way we have planned, I think we can hold around against any team," he added.
Sunrisers, who were Deccan Chargers in the last five editions under a different management, had a mixed fortune in the competition so far. They won the competition in South Africa in 2009, while finished fourth in 2010. But in other editions they ended up somewhere at the bottom of the table. Sangakkara stressed that the amount of effort and execution on the field is more important than any number of plans drawn up for success.
Sangakkara admitted that Shikhar Dhawan would be missed, but said it provide an opportunity for the youngsters.
"You know, you always draw up specific plans but the real key is executing them on the field. It does not matter how well you really plan, if you don't do your job on the field. "We just want to keep things as simple as possible, play some good cricket, be very competitive in this tournament and then once we played the first match, then we will understand more, probably better, where we are at the moment and build from there again," the Sri Lankan explained.
Sangakkara admitted that star player Shikhar Dhawan would be missed, but said it would an opportunity for the youngsters to show their mettle. "Shikhar Dhawan is out for a couple of more weeks. I think it is a huge loss. I watched him scoring that magnificent century for India against Australia in his debut Test. The last two seasons Shikhar has been an integral part of our team and it is unfortunate that we lost him. It is a great blow," he said.
"But, we got replacements who are probably good enough to do the job and we are excited to give that opportunity to a younger guy. We are looking forward to have Shikhar back as soon as possible," added Sangakkara. Meanwhile, Sunrisers player Parthiv Patel expressed confidence that the team would give a good account of itself in the sixth edition of the cash-rich tournament.
"We are pretty excited, the new IPL is starting. Hopefully, we can start well. Obviously, we did not have good season last year. But this time, we are prepared well. We have come out with some new players. Hopefully, we would do well," he said. Stating that he has tried to learn as much as possible from VVS Laxman and Krishnamachari Srikkanth, who are mentors of Sunrisers, Parthiv said he hoped to implement what he learnt from them.
Sunrisers chief coach Tom Moody said his team is confident and comfortable ahead of Friday's match. "The atmosphere is very good. We have prepared very well. It is unfortunate that we could not play the (practice) match yesterday because of rains. We feel confident and comfortable going into the first challenge," he said.
Moody said the final XI has also been decided but refused to give the details. Sunrisers mentor Srikkant said all the members of the team are gelling well. "Cricket is team game and we are gelling well together. We have a number of superstars and some domestic talents.
We are bullish about them, we hope they come good. Tom is doing a great job," he said. Srikkant said that the goal of the team is to be among the top four in this competition.