IPL 2018: Are Sunrisers Hyderabad the perfect antithesis to Chennai Super Kings?
SRH are winning matches they have no right to win.
Frankly speaking, when you put up a paltry 118 against the might of the Mumbai Indians without even finishing your full quota of 20 overs, you should just give up, give in and walk away. And when you don’t even get to 140 against a batting line-up studded with power hitters like KL Rahul and Chris Gayle, what are your chances of stealing 2 points from the game?
Yet, the SRH unit bundled out the mighty Mumbai Indians for a laughable 89. And restricted KXIP to just 119. Both times, SRH bowled out the opposition within 20 overs. And this, without their talisman Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the line-up.
In a format where the batsmen rule the roost, what SRH are doing in this year's IPL is just downright offensive. And they now have done it twice in a row.
While it may be too early to label the Sunrisers the league’s best defenders, I can’t help but wonder what if.
If CSK are a team that can chase down any total, no matter how the odds are stacked against them, SRH are a team that have taken it upon themselves to prove that any total, however below par it may be, can and will be defended.
While chasing down unsolvable equations and conquering mountainous asking rates gives crowds the bang for their buck, in my opinion, the ability to defend sub-par totals deserves higher praise. It’s daunting, leaves no room for errors, takes discipline and an unshakable will. Perhaps this is why I love low scoring games in the IPL. They are hard to come by and the teams that defend them successfully are rarer still.
In this IPL, we have two teams that have each mastered one side of that coin. But in essence, neither CSK nor SRH have the perfect squad.
At first glance, it might seem like CSK have built their team purely on nostalgia. That they are a team of has-beens and bygones. That there is nothing Super about the Super Kings. And yet, they sit right on top of the points table with just one loss in 6 games.
SRH, on the other hand, lost out on David Warner even before the tournament began. Warner, for SRH, had the distinction of playing the most matches, scoring the most number of runs, fifties, nineties, boundaries and sixers. Their batting line-up looked insipid without him. And yet, purely because of their inexplicable ability to defend and restrict the opposition, they sit in the second place on the points table only behind CSK.
In my previous article, I had mentioned how CSK have cemented their place as the best chasers in IPL. And after watching last night’s match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab, I have begun to wonder if the Sunrisers’ defence is the perfect foil to CSK’s attack.
SRH are perhaps the Professor X to CSK’s Magneto, the Thor to their Loki, and the Batman to their Joker.
SRH are the immovable object to CSK’s unstoppable force.
The first time these two teams met this season, both played out of character. CSK batted first and SRH fell short by just 5 runs in the chase. The next time these two teams meet, it would be a damn shame if we don’t get to see an epic second innings battle with both teams doing what they do best - CSK chasing and SRH stifling them.
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