Sunrisers Hyderabad have been one of few consistent teams in Indian Premier League alongside Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. The 2016 Indian Premier League champions have been in good form in the recent seasons, qualifying for a playoff in all three seasons after 2016 and ending as a runner up in a closely contested match in 2018 against Chennai. Here we analyse their squad, and use our analysis to judge the strengths and weaknesses of their recruitment.
Sunrisers are expected to be led by the Australian opener David Warner instead of Kane Williamson. Jonny Bairstow would join them as another overseas batsman and should take charge of wicket-keeping duties. In terms of experienced Indian batsman, they have Manish Pandey and wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha in the middle order, whilst Shreevats Goswami is another Indian wicket-keeper batsman in the team. They will be joined by some talented youngsters like Virat Singh (Jharkhand State team), Priyam Garg (India U-19 2019 Captain), Bavanka Sandeep (Hyderabad State Team), Sanjay Yadav (Tamil Nadu State Team) and Abdul Samad (Jammu Kashmir State Team).
As we move to the all-rounder department, they have Mitchell Marsh and Vijay Shankar as the fast bowling all-rounders. They have the combination of West Indian and Afghanistan internationals Fabian Allen and Mohammad Nabi respectively as their spin all-rounders. It won’t be wrong to say the all-rounder department lacks the depth needed for a long tournament.
The bowling department will be led by the experienced Indian bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He will be accompanied by Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma Basil Thampi (Former Gujarat Lions quick) and T. Natarajan (Tamil Nadu State team pacer). The spin department will be led by experienced Afghanistan International Rashid Khan. He will be joined by Shahbaz Nadeem and Abhishek Sharma (Indian U-19 and former Delhi Daredevil).
Although players like Abdul Samad and Sanjay Yadav are recognised as batsman, they have the ability to bowl spin and the conditions in the UAE can make them surprise weapons to chip in some quick wickets or bowl one or two tidy overs.
Key Players – Indian
The experienced Indian pacer will be the key for the Sunrisers in the powerplay, and his ability to swing the bowl might grant him the extended spell in this period. He will also play a crucial role in bowling in the death overs due to the lack of experienced fast bowlers in the Sunrisers’ squad. He has taken more than 100 wickets in the IPL at an average of 23.65, although the last two seasons his average has been on the higher side with 39.33 in 2018 and 35.46 in 2019. Injuries have made it more difficult for him and have been a hindrance in his performance. In spite of his averages in the last two season, his experience under pressure and ability to deliver during crucial time cannot be taken out and would still hold the key if Sunrisers are to reach the playoffs.
The Indian batsman has been prolific in T20 internationals, scoring at an average of 47.13 and strike rate of 127.62 in the 32 innings he has played for India, whilst his outstanding fielding will also be an advantage in this game of small margins for Sunrisers. Pandey also had a good IPL last season, scoring at an average 43 and strike rate of 130.80. He will be the key for Sunrisers in the middle order as there is not much depth in their batting in the middle-to-lower order. He is expected to bat at No.4.
The go-to all-rounder for the Indian team in the absence of Hardik Pandya played his last international match in June 2019 and was then out of the World Cup due to injury. He had an modest IPL last season with both bat and ball, scoring only at an average of 20.33 and being able to take only one wicket in the eight overs he bowled last season. He was not given much bowling last season due to the strength of the bowling attack Sunrisers possess. Although this season might be different and he could be the sixth bowler who will bowl one or two overs in each match and will be a key all-rounder for his team.
Key Players – Overseas
The England opener scored 445 runs 10 innings last season for Sunrisers with an average of 55.62 and strike rate of 157.24, ranking tenth among the highest run-scorers in the competition. His consistency and scoring rate at the top is what makes him one of the best openers in the tournament: his average and strike rate last season were second and third respectively among the top 10 run-scorers. Even though he failed to score in the first two T20I against Australia, he was back in form scoring 55 in the final match of the series, and notched a hundred in the final ODI match against the same opponents.
Warner has retained his captaincy for Sunrisers after being removed of the captaincy last season owing to the Sand-Paper Gate controversy. It won’t be wrong to say he silenced his critics by being the top scorer of the IPL and leading the chart roughly by 100 runs. He scored 692 at an extraordinary average of 69.20 and strike rate of 143.86. In the process, he notched up eight half-centuries and one century. If Sunrisers are to reach the playoffs, Warner will play a crucial role as a captain and as an opening batsman
The Afghanistan all-rounder has been in some good form in the now-concluded CPL. He took 12 wickets in 12 matches in it, including a match-winning 5/15, although it was his economy rate at 5.1 which stood out; he took eight wickets last year at an average of 24.25 and an economy of 6.65 As a batsman too he is well able to play short cameos, making him a very handy all-rounder, averaging 19.17 with the bat at a strike rate of 151.32 last season, showing his ability to play quickfire cameos. As the conditions are expected to favour spin in UAE, he, along with his partner Rashid Khan, will have a role to play in helping Sunrisers perform well.
Another Afghanistan international who will have a key role to play in SRH’S chances of reaching to playoffs. His partnership with Nabi in the spin department is something to look out for the opposition. He took 17 wickets in 2019 IPL with an average of 22.17 and an economy rate of 6.28, his economy rate the best among the bowlers who have taken more than 10 wickets, showing his ability to contain batsman and also take wickets at a regular interval. He also recently became the youngest and the fastest bowler to take 300 wickets in T20 cricket.
The 6’6“ Australian bowler has the ability to surprise batsman with bounce and pace. Even though his current form has not been great, his international career stats show his ability to perform at the highest level. In the 19 international T20 matches for Australia, he has taken 27 wickets at an average of 20.14 and economy of 7.77. With the lack of depth in the pace attack for SRH, he can be the wild card who can make an impact this IPL.
Shahbaz Nadeem who was brought in by SRH from Delhi Capitals as one of the three players as an exchange for Shikhar Dhawan in 2018. He is the lone experienced Indian spinner in the squad, and even though he has not been a regular in the last two season of the IPL he has the experience to deliver in crucial times. He has more than 100 wickets in domestic T20s and can play a role in the spin-favouring UAE conditions. He is expected to be the rotational spinner if the overseas player problem arises for Hyderabad as a part of the balance of the team, or if one of the experienced overseas spinners is injured.
Sunrisers have got a mix of youth and experience but they lack depth in experienced Indian batsmen. They rely heavily on foreign players in batting and spin bowling, although Bairstow, Warner and Marsh are expected to miss the opening match of the campaign due to the ongoing series between England and Australia. It will be interesting to see the opening pair for Sunrisers in their absence in the first match.
We expect Wriddhiman Saha and Kane Williamson to be the opening pair for the first match, with Vijay Shankar in 3 and Manish Pandey at 4 and Priyam Garg and Shreevats Goswami should get a chance in the middle order. Mohammad Nabi, Fabian Allen and Rashid Khan will be the three spinners, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma will be the two paceman. This season, they once again have the capability to reach to the playoffs