David Warner and Jonny Bairstow made for a thriving, and unlikely, combination during IPL 2019 at the top of the order for Sunrisers Hyderabad, and at one point frustrated “the crap out of Virat [Kohli]”.
The duo added 791 runs for SRH that year, putting on four century stands, including a record 185-run partnership against Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore. Warner and Bairstow had, before that tournament, never batted together before, but it was, Warner said, one of those partnerships that just clicked.
“It was really bizarre because me and Jonny, we’ve never played with each other or against each other,” Warner told commentator Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz in Conversation. “We didn’t really know each other off the field. But as soon as we had the first net session and the first hit out, it was almost like we knew each other’s game so well.
“The best thing about our combination, that I knew deep down, was how fast we are between wickets. We just knew that if we bat the way we did in the first six [overs] – like we normally do – and then once the field goes out, we can pinch the odd one or two. If we can rotate strike, it’s going to frustrate a lot of people.
“I look back at the RCB game, I think [there were] 21 or 22 twos. It was frustrating the crap out of Virat. When Virat went out to field at midwicket, we were running twos to him. The thing is, when you’ve got that instinct anyone can do that. When you’re batting so well with someone, and gel well, you can turn ones into twos quite easily.”
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) October 23, 2019
That fact that such a potent combination could be formed between an Australian and an Englishman only added to the intrigue. “It’s one of those things where you go, ‘I don’t want to be friends with this person because we’re just against each other,” said Warner.
“But in today’s environment, with IPL and all this franchise [cricket], there’s going to be a place and a time where you are going to be potentially playing with these people. You don’t really have the time anymore to not be friends. You have to be mates away from the game. That’s just how it is.
“But when you walk out there and you’re representing your country, that [friendship] goes out of the window. It’s more of a, ‘alright, you know we’re mates off the field, but this is how we’re going to play’.”