Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have been one of the most consistent sides off late, having qualified for the playoffs for five consecutive seasons, beginning from 2015. In the last 5 seasons, SRH has lifted the trophy once, finished as runner-ups once and twice finished in the third place. The 2018 runner-ups, however, faltered a bit last season when the openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow left for national duties and just about managed to scrape in to the top four.
The Hyderabad-based franchise is known for its strategic picks during the auction, where more often than not, they prove to be the smartest buyers. The story was no different this time. The think-tank comprising of the composed heads of VVS Laxman, Tom Moody, and Muttiah Muralitharan targetted only a few players who would fit into the slots they required to fill. They were clear with their strategy and once again proved to be smarter than some other teams. Just ahead of the tournament, they re-appointed David Warner as the captain of the side. As we gear up for the thirteenth edition of the IPL, here we take a detailed look at the squad of SRH:
Sunrisers Hyderabad Squad
David Warner (c), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mitchell Marsh, Fabian Allen, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sanjay Yadav, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Bavanaka Sandeep, Basil Thampi
Warner and Bairstow were nearly unstoppable as openers last season. With two of the best openers in limited-overs cricket at the moment batting together and one among Kane Williamson or the experienced Manish Pandey coming at three, SRH have one of the strongest top-orders.
The batting order looks more settled as compared to last year, with Mitchell Marsh being a much-needed addition for the finisher's role. Batting becomes the strongest point for SRH. The likes of Fabian Allen can be used as X-factor players, just like Ben Cutting in 2016 final.
Despite no glaring weakness on paper, SRH should be concerned over the form and fitness of their pacers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has not had much match practice and might not be available for a number of games due to injury. Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed and Siddharth Kaul were easily taken to cleaners last year. All four have the ability to bounce back as they have done in the past, but their lack of wicket-taking form is a cause of concern. The overseas pace option Billy Stanlake has not been amongst wickets either.
Lack of reserves in the spin department is another worry. In case of an injury to someone like Rashid Khan, SRH do not have the quality to fill his shoes. Also, Indian back-ups for the lower middle-order is still a concern. They have Marsh, Allen, and Mohammad Nabi, but will find it very tough fit any two together in the XI.
David Warner – Having led SRH to their only title in 2016, he continues to be the most valuable player of this side. Warner’s form in the IPL since 2015 has been one of the major factors why SRH have been so consistent. Having scored more than 500 runs every single season since 2015 (barring 2018 when he was suspended), Warner has been one of the finest overseas players in the IPL. With a huge burden of expectations on him like every season, Warner yet again will be the most important player for SRH.
Rashid Khan - One of the most sought after T20 bowlers in the world at the moment, Rashid Khan has carried the burden of SRH's spin department for the last two years. The Afghan wrist spinner has been constantly amongst wickets or has maintained pressure at one end which has helped others to pick wickets. Khan played a key role in the franchise reaching the finals in 2018. His importance can be gauged from the success rate of SRH whenever he has done well and vice versa. Will SRH be able to defend low totals that they are known for depends highly on how he performs on the given day. The Sunrisers would also look to use more of his batting, which has so far been underutilised in the IPL until now.
Mitchell Marsh - SRH have probably found the missing cog in the wheel for the last couple of years - the finisher, in Mitchell Marsh. The Australian all-rounder was in terrific form in the recently concluded BBL and has earned a national call-up. His batting is ideally suited for the middle-order and lower middle-order, a position that has cost SRH many crunch games in the past. Heavily dependent on their top order, SRH will now have someone reliable in the middle. Moreover, Marsh is a more than decent bowler with a knack of picking crucial wickets, giving an option to the skipper to cover up if any strike bowler has an off-day. SRH's fate will depend to a large extent on him especially in crunch games and tight situations.
Probable playing XI
David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Mitchell Marsh, Priyam Garg/ Virat Singh, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed
The ever-consistent Sunrisers go into the tournament as strong contenders for the trophy. However, the form of pacers might be a cause of concern. But even with that, they have the quality to make it to the playoffs and after that, it is up to how they perform on the given day.
Published 13 Mar 2020, 14:46 IST