A 17-run defeat against the Delhi Capitals (DC) in Qualifier 2 marks the end of the tournament for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. After making a very mediocre start to their tournament by winning only 4 out of their first 10 games, they came storming back. Getting a win in three must-win games against DC, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI) - the three teams that were on the top of the points table at that stage, enabled them to qualify for the playoffs.
Facing the RCB in the Eliminator, the SRH restricted them to a modest total and a Kane Williamson masterclass took them over the line in virtually what was their fourth knockout game of the tournament.
However, their hopes of lifting the trophy for the second time came crashing down as the DC picked up a convincing win to make it through to the final. Even a valiant and gritty half-century from their man for all seasons, Kane Williamson, was not enough as they fell short of the 190-run target.
Despite their tournament coming to an end, the Sunrisers will be mightily pleased at where they’ve finished considering how they started. They suffered some major setbacks throughout the course of the tournament, but they kept fighting and showcasing exemplary grit and resilience. In the end, it wasn’t enough for the SRH.
Here are 3 things that cost the David Warner-led franchise this season:
#3 Inexperienced middle order
The Sunrisers had an excellent season with the bat last year and the reason for that was the highly successful opening partnership between David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. The duo scored a majority of the Sunrisers’ runs last year and that meant their fairly inexperienced middle order was well shielded.
This season, however, the story was different. The opening stand between Warner and Bairstow was not nearly as successful as last year. This meant that the inexperienced middle order consisting primarily of Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar and Abdul Samad had a lot on their shoulders.
While the SRH did come up with a solution by dropping Bairstow and strengthening their middle order with Williamson and Holder, their middle order did cost them some games early on in the tournament. Priyam Garg, who was the mainstay in that Sunrisers’ middle order, only scored 133 runs from 14 games at an average of 14.77 and a strike-rate of 119.81.
#2 Choking under pressure
The Sunrisers had no one but themselves to blame when they found themselves in a position where they needed to win their 3 remaining league games to avoid being knocked out of the tournament. While they had successfully managed to maintain a high net run rate, a couple more wins earlier on would have seen them cruise into the playoffs quite comfortably. They faltered in their very first game against RCB and botched a straightforward chase.
But their performance against the Kings XI Punjab in Match 43 of the IPL was by far their most disappointing outing of the tournament. Chasing just a 127 for victory, the Sunrisers were cruising when they were 52/0 at the end of the powerplay. However, their batting order folded like a pack of cards after they were bowled out for a 114 to fall short of the paltry target by 12 runs.
While the Sunrisers did ensure that there were no replays of their horrific performance, the loss definitely haunted them as they proceeded extremely cautiously in every subsequent chase.
#1 Injuries, injuries and more injuries
If there was something that hurt the Sunrisers the most this season, then it definitely was their list of injured players. Throughout the course of the tournament, they lost player after player to injury. They suffered their first setback when key all-rounder Mitchell Marsh was ruled out after their very first game owing to an ankle injury. Their biggest blow, however, came when the leader of their impressive pace-attack, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, was ruled out thanks to a thigh muscle injury after just 12 days into their campaign.
The list, however, did not end there for the Sunrisers. They suffered two more big blows towards the end of the tournament. Wriddhiman Saha, who had been extremely impressive scoring 214 runs from 4 games at an average of 71.33 and a strike-rate of 139.86, was ruled out with a hamstring tear after SRH’s game against the DC on the 27th of October. If that was not enough, all-rounder Vijay Shankar too was ruled out in the same game after injuring his hamstring.
While the Sunrisers remained strong till the end, the injuries to key players did hurt their chances of winning the title. But having got to the 2nd Qualifier without being able to field some of their most important players, the Sunrisers can remain upbeat for the upcoming IPL in April 2021.Published 09 Nov 2020, 12:47 IST