After falling out in the IPL 2020 playoffs - their fifth consecutive playoff appearance - the Sunrisers Hyderabad will want to go one step further this season. The David Warner-led side have always been one of the tougher teams to beat in the IPL, and this year isn’t expected to turn out any different.
At the IPL 2021 Auction in February this year, Sunrisers Hyderabad bought three players - Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, and J Suchith. They will also be buoyed by the return of their strike bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who missed the last edition due to a hip injury.
Although Sunrisers Hyderabad will once again miss the services of Mitchell Marsh, they replaced the Australian with a stellar white-ball batsman in Jason Roy. It also provides them the opportunity to bring together one of the most fearsome opening pairs in international cricket in the form of Jonny Bairstow and Roy.
But have they done enough going into the tournament to come up with their second IPL title? We don't think so. Here are three reasons why.
3 reasons Sunrisers Hyderabad will not win IPL 2021
#1 Over-dependence on top four
David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, and Jason Roy are all top-order behemoths. Three of those batsmen, along with Manish Pandey, are expected to form the top four.
Although Roy will only act as a back-up for Warner, who has recently struggled with a groin injury, it is clear that Sunrisers Hyderabad are heavily dependent on their top-order to do the bulk of the scoring.
Over the last few seasons, the trick has worked for them too (sort of). Four of the last six Orange Caps have gone to Sunrisers Hyderabad’s top-order batsmen - Warner has won it thrice, while Williamson bagged it the season the Australian missed out. But in none of those seasons did they manage to win the IPL title.
#2 No world-class finisher
While over-dependence on the top four could pull them back, the lack of a world-class finisher is also sure to hurt SRH at some stage of IPL 2021. Their top four will most likely be followed by the Indian trio of Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar and Abdul Samad.
19-year-old Samad is yet to prove himself at the biggest of stages. While both Jadhav and Shankar have ample experience of playing in the IPL, they have never been able to terrorize the opposition like Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Hardik Pandya, AB de Villiers, and MS Dhoni have.
Jason Holder played the finisher’s role for them in the last few matches of IPL 2020. But it’s unlikely that the all-rounder would be a permanent fixture in SRH’s XI this season. Mohammad Nabi could deliver some meaty blows with the bat. But again, Sunrisers Hyderabad will have to compromise with other departments to slot him in.
Maybe Sunrisers Hyderabad missed a trick by not replacing Mitchell Marsh with another lower-middle order batsman.
#3 Lack of a quality fifth bowling option
SRH’s strongest suit might well be their bowling. They have been known to defend tricky totals, riding on their bowlers’ discipline and Rashid Khan’s supreme wicket-taking ability. Bhuvneshwar Kumar's return further adds to their bowling arsenal.
In IPL 2021, Rashid, Bhuvneshwar, Sandeep Sharma and T Natarajan will form one of the best bowling brigades. But the lack of a fifth bowling option might undo a lot of good work done by the four of them.
In all probability, Sunrisers Hyderabad will select Warner, Bairstow, Williamson and Rashid as their four overseas players. It will leave them needing four overs from Samad, Shankar and Jadhav, which could turn out to be their Achilles heel.