IPL 2019: Sunrisers Hyderabad begin the tournament as overwhelming favourites
Sunrisers Hyderabad enter the twelfth season of the Indian Premier League as a team built not of individual stars, but squad players who can turn up on any given day and turn the tide in their favour. Unlike other teams in this famed competition, the franchise from the city of Hyderabad lacks the star power which pulls fans to the stadiums. Instead, they have built a team which revolves around themselves and utility artists who can all tug a string or two.
The "Eagles" are led by none other than the affable and immensely likeable New Zealander Kane Williamson. Back in their rosters this year after a tumultuous year away from the game is Australian David Warner. The management, rightly so, has been wary of thrusting the pressures of captaincy straight away on Warner and have decided to stick with Williamson, who was brilliant for them last season.
Their batting lineup includes the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Martin Guptill, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda and Manish Pandey, who are all stars in their own rights. It may be argued that Pathan is past his prime but woe befalls any bowler who has an off day when the former does not. He can still hit the ball a long way and is the out-and-out slogger that the Sunrisers' middle-order desires to have.
Guptill himself can be very destructive at the top of the order and if both he and Warner get going, there is surely no stopping the two of them unless they decide to overplay their hand. The calm and composed Williamson, who was mocked for not being able to adapt to limited-overs cricket until last year, proved all critics wrong in last season's IPL and will be itching to do more of the same this time around.
Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammed Nabi and Vijay Shankar make up the all-rounders' department and they are all very capable of winning games on their own. There is certainly no denying that the extremely experienced Al Hasan still has a trick or two left up his sleeves. By heavying up on spin-bowling all-rounders, the Sunrisers have given themselves a lot of depth given that a lot of matches will be played on spin-friendly tracks across India over the next couple of months.
The Sunrisers have traditionally been a more bowling-oriented side and this time it is no different either. That department will be led by the team's vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar and he will be assisted by youngsters Siddarth Kaul, Basil Thampi, Khaleel Ahmed and the redoubtable Rashid Khan. New signings Shahbaz Nadeem and Abhishek Sharma will surely add to that lineup.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have an extremely balanced squad which and mixed with experience and youth, they begin the tournament as favourites purely because of their better combinations. The runners-up of last year's edition of the Indian Premier League will be looking to go one better this time around.