We have already seen the Sunrisers Hyderabad claim the coveted IPL title under David Warner’s leadership, but this year has been a revelation for the franchise. With Warner out of the picture (at the very last minute), it seemed like the team would struggle to get their act together. But as we approach the last hurdle for teams to qualify for one of the top four slots, SRH is already miles ahead of the rest. 9 wins in 11 games says it all.
The clinical chase against the Delhi Daredevils provided enough proof of their self-confidence and skills, even as Rishabh Pant swore to steal the show with one of the best innings we have seen this year. However, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson ensured that nothing could go wrong with the chase.
With a strong coaching staff and a cool-as-a-cucumber captain in their ranks, the season (so far) has been a dream run of sorts for the Sunrisers. One look at the points table will tell you that they have won more than they have lost – but would it be fair to say that they have all their bases covered?
Taking a closer look at the scorelines suggests that they have won most of their games because of a formidable and in-form bowling attack (and to some extent, their fielding unit). Barring a couple of games where the bowling was a tad bit below average, SRH have always managed to bail themselves out of tough situations while defending low totals.
Their bowling stocks are quite enviable for any T20 team:
The fast bowlers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Billy Stanlake (he is no longer available), Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Thangarasu Natarajan and Chris Jordan
The spinners – Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi, Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan and Bipul Sharma
Arguably one of the most balanced squads in the tournament, SRH have depended heavily on the bowling department when their top and middle order have failed to put up big scores on the board. Swing and seam upfront (or sometimes the introduction of Shakib in the powerplay), controlled offense in the middle overs and fantastic death bowling skills – SRH have managed to consistently churn out match-winning bowling performances despite forced changes to the playing XI (due to injuries). The wonder of it all is that whenever a player on the bench has been given an opportunity, he has rarely failed to grab it with both hands.
The inability to set big targets is where SRH have a concern they will need to address sooner rather than later. With Shikhar Dhawan coming back into form against DD, Alex Hales’ potential at the top and Kane Williamson’s consistency, the top-heavy batting lineup is not looking too bad at the moment.
However, in crunch games and crunch situations, the form of Manish Pandey and their big hitters (Yusuf Pathan and Deepak Hooda) will matter. Having managed to seize key moments on most occasions, you can trust SRH to come out on top, no matter what the challenge. The Sunrisers have displayed a masterclass in terms of defending low totals on slightly tricky wickets. Slow, sticky and turning tracks have been one of the main reasons why their batsmen have struggled to score big (and quick) this season.
But the million-dollar question is that if they are asked to bat first on a belter in a knockout game, will they be able to rack up a big one and follow it up with a solid bowling performance? Only time will tell.