Sunrisers Hyderabad, one of the most consistent teams in recent times, were among the favorites (along with Chennai Super Kings) at the start of IPL 2019 to reach the playoffs comfortably. But things didn't according to plan for them as they barely managed to hold on to the 4th position in the points table.
SRH have become the first team in IPL history to qualify for the playoffs with just 12 points. They managed to do so by virtue of their superior net run rate.
SRH have been struggling to stay afloat in the second half of the season, and look like the weakest team among the four that have qualified. Where are things going wrong for the 2016 champions?
Here's a look at some of the reasons for their struggles"
1) Inconsistent middle order
The Sunrisers' middle order has been a problem right the inception of the franchise. The management have put their trust in the likes of Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan, but none of them has fired so far.
Manish Pandey has not lived up to his price tag of 11 crore either. That said, he has regained his form in the last few matches.
2) Loss of foreign stars in the latter stages of the league
This season SRH were bolstered by the return of David Warner and the arrival of new recruit Johnny Bairstow. The two openers single-handedly blew away the opposition bowling at the top, which also helped considerably in boosting SRH's NRR.
But due to World Cup commitments, SRH had to lose players like Bairstow, Warner and Shakib Al Hasan, whose boots are nearly impossible to fill.
3) Misfiring bowling attack
The key reason behind Sunrisers' final run last year was their bowling. They regularly defended below-par scores, choking the opposition batting with their discipline and fire.
But the mojo of the bowling line-up has faded away a little this season, with almost all the bowlers going for runs. Also, they have had a lot of trouble with their fifth bowling option; they've tried Shakib Al Hasan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Sharma and Abhishek Sharma, but they've been leaking runs during key stages of the game.
Given that they have qualified for the playoffs, SRH would want captain Kane Williamson to step up and address these issues before it is too late.
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