In 2013, Sunrisers Hyderabad reached the qualifiers of the IPL but last year they missed out on that spot as they ended up with 6 wins in their 14 games. For a star-studded team like SRH, it must have been a huge disappointment on many fronts but it must be said that in the last edition of the tournament they struggled to win the big moments in many games and ended up just short of the number of wins that could have allowed them to have a crack at the knockout stages of the tournament.
In the auction this year, they were able to nab Kevin Pietersen at a cut price but then the batsman decided to concentrate on English domestic cricket in order to regain his place in the English side which robbed them off a batsman who could make a real difference; however overall they have bought well and would like to challenge for the title this time round.
David Warner (c), Ashish Reddy, Ricky Bhui, Ravi Bopara, Trent Boult, Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Sidhharth Kaul, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Praveen Kumar, Chama Milind, Eoin Morgan, Naman Ojha, Parvez Rasool, Padmanabhan Prasanth, Lokesh Rahul, Ishant Sharma, Karn Sharma, Laxmi Shukla, Dale Steyn, Hanuma Vihari, Kane Williamson.
Last year, one of the most glaring deficiencies in the side was their inability to score freely once Dhawan, Finch and Warner failed to click and that was one of the reasons why they failed in plenty of matches against opposition who could keep these three in check or worse still get them out cheaply. However, Lokesh Rahul is now a far more experienced player and after his century against Australia in the Test series Down Under last summer, he is a player on whom the team can depend if the top order now consisting of Warner and Dhawan fail to get the innings off to a desired start.
Even though they let go of Australian opener Aaron Finch, they have bought well by bringing in players like Eoin Morgan and New Zealand star Kane Williamson which would go a long way in making their middle order one of the most formidable in the tournament. However, only two of them would be able to play since Warner, an overseas player and a captain, is a certainty and more often than not it would be Kane Williamson who would start along with Bopara, who can bowl a few overs. Namen Ojha as the wicket keeper batsman would like to carry on from where he left off and last season and try to add some valuable runs down the order.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling was their strong point filled with internationals and this year too, the team has a great roster of bowlers even though one of their better performers, Amit Mishra was released and has migrated to Delhi Daredevils. Even then they have two of the world’s premier fast bowlers in Dale Steyn or Trent Boult to choose from and it must be said that the purchase of Boult in favour of Mishra could work out to be a master stroke in the long run. Boult can take wickets with the new ball and could be devastating on his day, which is what SRH would be counting on. Bhuvanashwar Kumar and Karn Sharma provide the bowling with the much needed depth.
Although Warner and Dhawan can tear apart any bowling attack on their day, there is a clear absence of a power hitting middle order batsman who can take the score past the 180 mark or chase down a total when the required rate reaches 15 an over. When SRH would be faced with that sort of a situation, they would lose the contest 9 out of 10 times or need an unlikely hero who would need to play an innings that would be completely out of the left field.
The absence of such a batsmen in the middle order is an absolute must for any T20 outfit and the absence of such a player is a worry, since Morgan for all his inventive stroke play is not the answer since he is not someone who can score at that rate consistently and his record in the IPL has shown that. They would simply need to go hard at the top of the order and hope that the middle order batsmen can keep the run rate at a decent level so that the absence of such a batsman is not felt.
As mentioned earlier, SRH have a range of bowlers who are hardened international pros and even Parvez Rasool the spinner has represented India in a ODI, which makes their attack one of the most experience. However, like it is the case with their batting line up; the bowling attack too is deficient in the most vital department even though the quality of the personnel is beyond question.
Although they have an excellent new ball attack in Boult and Bhuvaneshwar, they do not have a bowler who can consistently send down yorkers or vary the pace to stifle the scoring in the slog overs. Even Dale Steyn found it difficult in the last edition and in Ishant Sharma they have a bowler who does not seem to enjoy the shortest format of the game. SRH would do well to perhaps play Laxmi Shukla in his place; a handy bowler and a batsman who can strike a few hefty blows in the slog overs.
Key Players: –
Shikhar Dhawan and captain David Warner are without doubt the pillars of the SRH batting order and the team would be depending on these two to make sure that the team are able to get off to lighting quick starts in the first 6 overs. On the other hand, if any one of the two go on to play a long innings (at the crease till the 15th over or more) then the SRH would have the possibility of scoring big runs.
Kane Williamson has been one of the best young batsmen in the world in over the past year or so and although he might not be a power hitter, he has all the strokes in the book and would be the man to pull SRH out of a hole if they end up losing too many wickets early on. He could do what Faf du Plessis does so well for CSK- anchor the innings, score at a decent rate and then accelerate when there the charge is on.
Trent Boult would be the bowler who is currently regarded as one of the very best in the world and his exploits in the recently concluded World Cup showed exactly what he brings to the table- swing, pace and seam. He would be the one who would be the spearhead of the bowling attack and make sure that the opposition top order is rattled early.
Even though it is perhaps a long shot, it is Ravi Bopara who could end up being the talismanic cricketer that the Sunrisers Hyderabad have needed for some time. He can bowl a few tight overs and has the ability to finish off games with his inventive batting. An underrated cricketer who can do some serious damage.
By: Soham Samaddar