IPL 2019: Sunrisers Hyderabad mid-season analysis
Sunrisers Hyderabad are currently placed sixth on the IPL points table after seven matches, with 6 points and an NRR of 0.409.
David Warner's return to the IPL after missing the previous season started well, with a half-century against Kolkata Knight Riders, but the match was lost due to a late display of power hitting from Andre Russell. Another half-century from Warner and late boundaries from Yusuf Pathan and Rashid Khan saw them win against Rajasthan Royals after.
Centuries from Warner and Jonny Bairstow saw them ruthlessly thrash Royal Challengers Bangalore in their next game, with off-spinner Mohammad Nabi taking 4 wickets. Economical bowling from Nabi and Rashid saw them win their next match against Delhi Capitals too, by five wickets.
But then, Alzarri Joseph's bowling figures of 6/12 saw Sunrisers Hyderabad collapse to 96 all out against Mumbai Indians, losing by 40 runs. A difficult batting track against Kings XI Punjab saw a patient half-century from Warner, but half-centuries from KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal saw the Kings XI win with a ball to spare.
Another half-century from Warner and three wickets from Khaleel Ahmed were not enough to prevent a loss to Delhi Capitals after. Warner and Bairstow combined to score 92 out of 116 runs in a match that saw them lose eight wickets for 15 runs.
David Warner currently leads the IPL Orange Cap list with 400 runs from 7 innings, including one century and four half-centuries. Bairstow and all-rounder Vijay Shankar are the only other batsmen with over 100 runs - Bairstow with 304 and Shankar with 132.
Warner's performance highlights his value as Sunrisers' best and most consistent batsman for the past few seasons. He and Bairstow have formed an effective and destructive opening pair in IPL 2019.
Regular captain Kane Williamson has played in only two out of seven matches so far as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has led in his place, but the team seems to be missing the regular touch of Williamson's leadership abilities.
Sandeep Sharma is currently their leading wicket-taker with 8 wickets, followed by Mohammad Nabi with 7 and Rashid Khan and Siddarth Kaul with 6. Bhuvneshwar has 5 wickets to his name but has suffered due to dropped chances and irregular death bowling at the start of the season.
Runs from other batsmen will be crucial as that would reduce their dependence on Warner and Bairstow. Manish Pandey and Deepak Hooda have failed to impress so far from their six matches, with neither scoring more than 60 runs, and Williamson's continued recovery further highlights the need for a solid batting core to develop.
The runs from the other batsmen will also be crucial as Warner and Bairstow will be returning to Australia and England respectively for World Cup preparations within the next two weeks. Martin Guptill is currently in the squad as a backup opener and can replace either one, with Williamson or Shreevats Goswami stepping in to partner him.
Sunrisers Hyderabad would have to win at least four of their remaining seven matches to remain in contention for the playoffs.