With Mumbai Indians crowned as the Champions of the tenth edition of IPL , they become the most successful team in the history of the league. Mumbai defeated the Rising Pune Supergiant by one run to clinch their third IPL title. It was also the dream season for the Pune side. Having finished 7th in the previous edition, there was much to ponder for the franchise playing its last season. Signing Ben Stokes and appointing a young skipper in the form of Steve Smith were two of the major changes that influenced Pune’s destiny. But, were Pune actually the team that necessarily deserved a spot in the finals? Giving a tough competition in the race was the Sunrisers Hyderabad team. The defending Champions were in some serious form to lift the title once again. In this article we try to analyze, why Sunrisers were a better contender than the Supergiant for the final.
The signing of Ben Stokes created an aura of strong hype in the IPL world. The Supergiant relied heavily on their marquee player and he was one of the prime reasons why Pune made to the finals. Aptly awarded with the ‘Man of the Tournament’ , Ben stokes contributed to Pune’s success both with the bat and the ball. The English all-rounder grabbed 12 wickets and also scored 316 runs in his maiden IPL. While for the Sunrisers, it was a complete team performance . Hyderabad was a well balanced squad with a fair combination of young Indian players like Vijay Shankar, Siddarth Kaul, Mohammad Siraj and experienced senior players like Yuvraj Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, David Warner, Ashish Nehra, Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan. Failure of one did not cause the downfall for the Sunrisers.
Strong Batting Unit
The batting unit for the two teams had a major difference to look at. For the Pune side, Ajinkya Rahane has failed to score runs according to his capability. It was only Rahul Tripathi who provided the fine initial start of the innings. Rahane has managed 382 runs in this tournament while Tripathi accumulated 391. For the Sunrisers, both David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan have fired in this tournament scoring 641 and 479 runs respectively. The only backbone of Pune’s batting was the skipper Steve Smith who has scored 472 (average 39.33) runs in this season in 15 matches. However, his counterpart, Kane Williamson has scored 256 runs in only 7 matches played and averages more than 42. A total of 15 half centuries have been registered by the Sunrisers while Pune have aggregated only 11. It is important to note that Pune have played 2 extra matches as compared to the Sunrisers.
The Bowling attack
This is where Sunrisers have ruled in this tournament. For the Pune side, the seam department was purely dependent on Jaydev Unadkat who had an extremely impressive season with 24 wickets and a best of 5/30. On the other side, Sunrisers’ pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddarth Kaul have stepped up to keep on taking wickets at regular intervals. Mohammad Siraj also delivered a few stints of fine seam bowling.With 26 wickets in 14 matches, Bhuvi was crowned with the Purple Cap. Siddarth Kaul has played only 10 matches in this season but has picked 16 wickets. Though Rashid Khan(17 wickets) and Imran Tahir(18 wickets) have been equally effective, Sunrisers surely had an upper hand in the bowling unit.
The luck factor
The odds were not in the favour of the defending champions where the Rain Gods had the influence on the matches of Sunrisers. In the league stages, Sunrisers had to satisfy with only one point after the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore was called off due to rain. Had SRH won that match,(which was highly probable as RCB were going through the worst phase of the league and SRH was among the top 4), that one extra point would have placed them at number 2 in the points table which would have given them another life in the race for the finals. Rains affected the all important match of qualifiers as well where SRH lost to KKR in a rain minced game. KKR were set a target of 48 in 6 overs which they chased down with some trouble though. Had the full match been played, results could have gone either of the way and may be Sunrisers could have been in the finals for the second consecutive time.
Though Pune have played exceptionally well in this tournament (painful to lose the finals by just one run), Sunrisers did deserve a place in the finals owing to their performances and the records. Both, the Orange Cap and the Purple Cap, landed in the Sunrisers’ Camp despite playing an equal number of matches as the teams that did not make to the playoffs. This reflects the dominance of the team.