IPL 2019 Season Review: Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad will rue the team's inconsistency and overreliance on a few players throughout the season and will concede in hindsight that they were lucky to make the top four after winning only 6 of their 14 group matches.
In proof of how competitive this year's IPL season was, it was unclear which of these teams would progress to Qualifier 2 until the last 2 balls of the Eliminator, with Delhi managing a win with one ball left. That competitive nature and relative inconsistency of both teams made for fascinating viewing this season.
A season where different players stepped up for Delhi Capitals
Dhawan led with 521 runs and 5 half-centuries, followed by Pant with 488 runs and 3 half-centuries.
Identifying the right team balance was a problem throughout the tournament for them, however, Axar Patel often batting one place too high at no.6, ensured that Delhi had enough bowling options.
Kagiso Rabada led the bowling with 25 wickets, but his season was cut short by a back injury that left South Africa worried over his World Cup participation, and was thus immediately recalled. Chris Morris, Ishant Sharma, and Amit Mishra all contributed with 13 (Morris and Sharma) and 11 wickets respectively.
Finding a lower order batting all-rounder in the mould of a Glenn Maxwell or Andre Russell to resolve the issue of team balance is something that Delhi should be looking for next year. Aside from that, if the core of Indian players can maintain this form going into next year's season, they could find themselves finishing in the top four once again.
Warner, Bairstow, and inconsistent performances for Sunrisers Hyderabad
David Warner's comeback season was one to remember from him with 692 runs, including 1 century and 8 half-centuries.
Apart from him and Jonny Bairstow (445 runs), the rest of the batsmen struggled. Manish Pandey found some form late in the season to finish with 344 runs including 3 half-centuries, but contributions from the rest were scarce.
Kane Williamson spent much of the season recovering from a shoulder injury which hampered his batting this year, and the team missed his tactical nous on the field despite the best efforts of Bhuvneshwar Kumar as stand-in captain.
Batting all-rounder Vijay Shankar was the only other batsman with more than 200 runs, but never scored more than 40 in a match. Mohammad Nabi also impressed with late power hitting and restrictive off-spin bowling.
Khaleel Ahmed and Rashid Khan led the bowling with 19 and 17 wickets respectively, with Rashid also ending the tournament as their most economical bowler with an economy rate of 6.28.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma were the only other bowlers of note with 13 and 12 wickets, but their inconsistent wicket-taking only raised the pressure on the other bowlers.
Much like Delhi Capitals, finding a lower order power hitter is something that Sunrisers should consider, especially given the ineffectiveness of Yusuf Pathan this season. Developing a batting lineup that can consistently score runs is another thing to consider to reduce the burden of run-scoring on Warner and Bairstow.