Cricket - Moody defends playing out-of-form Williamson as opener

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FILE PHOTO: ICC World Test Championship Final - India v New Zealand
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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody has defended playing captain Kane Williamson as an opener despite the batsman's ongoing run drought in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Williamson's tally of 208 runs from 12 matches has come at a strike rate of 92.85, the worst among batsmen with a minimum of 100 runs this season.

In Saturday's match against Kolkata Knight Riders, the New Zealand captain managed just nine off 17 balls, but Moody said he was against tinkering with the Hyderabad middle order, which had been working well for them.

"Rahul Tripathi has batted exceptionally well at number three and (Aiden) Markram has been one of the leading batters in the tournament at four," Moody said after their defeat by Kolkata in Pune.

"So, we felt why change something that's working for something that's not working.

"We have trusted Kane with his quality, there's no question of his world-class quality.

"So, that's why we haven't made that move because as we have seen throughout the tournament where the batting has been functioning really well."

Hyderabad's hopes of making the playoff hangs by a thread after their seventh defeat and they must find a way to maximise their powerplay overs in the remaining two league matches.

Against Kolkata, Williamson kept finding fielders in the circle and eventually lost his wicket trying to play a scoop shot against Andre Russell.

"There's some consistency to it," Williamson said of his struggles.

"Hit four or five (balls to) fielders and then try a bit harder and end up walking off. It's one of those things.

"The game just forever teaches us lessons. So, there's a bit of learning for me there," added Williamson.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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