Sunrisers Hyderabad has always been one of the most dangerous and feared combinations by virtue of its balance and the reputation of having the best bowling attack, especially in the death overs. And the leg-spin of Rashid Khan has been the most decisive factor in the line-up which could easily defend low totals on many occasions.
A top-heavy batting order led by David Warner, who partnered with Jonny Bairstow for the first half of the 2020 IPL edition and later on with another wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, and the cool Kane Williamson coming at No. 3 provided the kind of starts they looked for.
The batting of Manish Pandey was one of the high points of the franchise’s campaign. All-rounder Jason Holder coming in for the injured Mitchell Marsh turned out to be another key performer in the crucial final leg of the league phase.
The season, which saw SRH lose to Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2, also witnessed the emergence of left-arm pacer T. Natarajan whose yorkers have been a revelation. His phenomenal accuracy of delivering them in the death overs had effectively ensured that SRH didn’t feel the absence of the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was out of action after a few games.
What went wrong
There was too much dependence on Warner and Williamson, and whenever Manish Pandey, too, fell cheaply, the young and exciting talent failed to come good. Lack of consistency by the lower-order batsmen was one of the reasons for the slump SRH suffered before staging a remarkable comeback, winning the last three league games against the best teams in the edition to make it to the play-offs.
Saha’s injury which saw him miss the eliminator and the qualifier 2 against Delhi was a huge blow to the side. Young guns like Abdul Samad, who has thrown hints of his awesome hitting prowess, Priyam Garg and left-arm spinning all-rounder Abhishek Sharma need to show more cricketing discipline.
The champion of the 2016 edition can take pride in unearthing the likes of Natarajan. Coming from a humble background, his success story in the IPL can be an inspiration to budding cricketers. Samad’s batting and fielding abilities, and Priyam Garg showing a lot of promise augur well for the franchise. Pacer Sandeep Sharma, too, was brilliant, coming up with one of the best strike rates in power play. As always Rashid Khan was a stand-out performer. When not taking wickets he compensated with his economy rate. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem was equal to the task except in the crunch qualifier 2 game.
SRH is one of the few franchises which didn’t have any issues in player management or in terms of selections. With Warner lavishing praise on some of the young Indian talent, the franchise has very few issues to counter for the next edition and can look ahead with hope and improvement.
The hero: T. Natarajan
Matches: 16; wickets: 16; best bowling: 2/24; average: 31.50; economy rate: 8.02; strike rate: 23.56; four-wicket hauls: 0