- The Underdogs
When the David Warner led-Sunrisers Hyderabad defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore on that unfateful evening for all RCB fans around the globe, millions of hearts were broken and emotions were running high.
Many devout RCB fans even deemed Sunrisers Hyderabad to be the prime villains as not only was Virat Kohli unable to complete an unprecedented 1000 IPL runs in a single IPL season, but also the home team failed to pick up the trophy after making it to the finals of the cash rich tournament for the third time.
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- The Bittersweet Realisation
Fast forward a couple of weeks since that IPL 2016 final and when fantasy league fans and the game’s followers in general looked back to what happened, it was only sensible to concur that the better team won.
Yes, Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers had a dream run throughout the season but it’s not a couple of players that win you tournaments, it takes a complete team effort to go all the way.
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That’s why the Sunrisers Hyderabad prevailed and were crowned as the champions. Everyone spoke about Virat Kohli narrowly missing out on that 1000 run record that season but almost everyone also overlooked the fact that even David Warner scored 848 runs in that season, shepherding his side throughout. The bowling made all the difference.
David Warner has won the Orange Cap on three alternate seasons. Starting from 2015 and then repeating it again in 2017 before getting the heroics done again during his comeback season of 2019.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar won the Purple Cap for two consecutive seasons in their victorious campaign of 2016 and then again in 2017, becoming the first- and till date only – bowler to achieve the feat.
- What makes SRH such an accomplished team?
Even though they are slightly on the lighter side when in comparison to the number of star-studded players in their ranks, SRH pride themselves on defending low totals. They have done this against the best of teams in the most trying conditions and circumstances, time and again.
Unlike what most people expect from a T20 team, the Orange Army, as they are famously known, don’t have a batting depth. But they have been blessed to have an exquisite top order batsmen who get the job done on most occasions.
In their 2019 campaign, openers Jonny Bairstow and David Warner were so consistent with their performances that the middle order remained largely untested throughout the major part of the tournament.
This was David Warner’s return to competitive cricket after serving his one year ban, and he announced his arrival in grand fashion. He ended up scoring 692 runs, also smashing a century against RCB.
- Under Pressure – But the Sun Rises Nonetheless for Hyderabad
In 2018, due to the unavailability of Warner, Kane Williamson was made the skipper and the Kiwi showed his T20 prowess by scoring 735 runs in the tournament that saw his team ending up as the runners-up. He became only the fifth batsman to score more than 700 runs in an IPL season.
Chris Gayle did it for RCB in 2012, Micheal Hussey did it for his CSK side’s winning campaign in 2013. Coincidentally, both Chris Gayle and Micheal Hussey scored the same amount of runs in 2012 and 2013, respectively (733). Virat Kohli’s stupendous 2016 season saw him score a mind-boggling 973 runs with David Warner scoring 848 in the same season.
Kane Williamson had an extraordinary run in the 2018 season, both as a batsman and skipper, leading with example in a predominantly bowling side. It was a collection of himself and the bowlers, with contributions from different players that took them to the finals of 2018 in the absence of the talismanic David Warner.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad management boast the likes of some astute cricket brains. Head Coach, Tom Moody was assisted by calm and avid thinkers of the game in VVS Laxman and Muttiah Muralitharan.
These people conduct a detailed analysis of the opposition teams. This includes searching for flaws in the opposition teams. Looking for ways to exploit it. A plan will be devised accordingly, given their own resources. And on more occasions than not, we have seen the ever reliable bowling and top order batting order of Sunrisers Hyderabad to deliver on a regular basis. This has given them the edge over other teams who don’t get the basics right as often as the Hyderbad franchise has done over the years.
David Warner has been a prolific run-scorer for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past four to five seasons. His swashbuckling style of play often catches the bowling side off-guard within the powerplay, pushing them into a defensive mindset.
Till the time David Warner is out there, the fielding side can never breathe easy as the impact he brings with himself is immense.
This covers for the inexperienced middle order batsmen who are yet to acclimatize themselves to the big stage competitiveness that the IPL demands from each player. It also serves the purpose of concealing for the rustiness of someone who is in the dying stages of their career (Yusuf Pathan).
Kane Williamson was the shining light for the Orange Army in their almost successful 2018 campaign, replicating the type of success David Warner had been garnering at the top of the order.
- The Loyal SRH Soldiers
The advent of Rashid Khan has sent shivers down the spine of batting orders. He has been the find for Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Afghan sensation has played pivotal roles in many low scoring thrillers that ended up with the SRH side being on the right side of the result. Such crucial wins have propelled them one step closer to that play-off spot each time they pulled it off.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar spearheads the pace attack with his skilful armour. He gets the better of batsmen under pressure situations that has so often the case in an IPL game. His international experience has certainly helped in coping and delivering under stress for his side.
Along with Bhuvi and Rashid Khan, if the other bowlers do the job of strangulating the runs, Hyderabad ends up winning on eight out of ten occasions. Even on days when their bowling departement is under the pump, someone will step up to the occasion and deliver. On most occasions it is Rashid Khan or Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but we have also seen other players performing to the team’s cause.
The management also helps backing the fringe players in the playing eleven, giving them an extended run in order to enhance their morale and perform for the franchise.
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David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kane Williamson and Rashid Khan form the backbone of the SRH side, around whom we have seen players given enough time for their development to come up with contributions.
And that is a similar trend seen in successful IPL teams like the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. They have stuck with a certain plan and not deviated from it after an aberration. You could say that it has proven to be a kind of Winning Way (Harsha Bhogle would approve the name) for teams to back their decisions and not been thrown into a state of panic after a couple of bad games. It is a combination of self-belief in teams, players, coaching staff and management that all adds up to a high-performing IPL side.
- What to Expect From SRH in IPL 2020?
Even though they have only got one IPL trophy to show for it, Sunrisers Hyderabad are definitely among the top drawer teams in the coveted IPL tournament with consistent play-off finishes. Under Tom Moody, who has been a very good coach for the side – placing the team into the top four in each season since that 2016 triumph – the team has reached many heights. But he will no longer be with them.
They have signed World Cup winning Coach Trevor Bayliss as their Head Coach. There are a couple of other changes at the helm. Are we destined to see an even better dawn for the Sunrisers Hyderabad?
Looking back at the last season, there would be a couple of worrying factors on how their bowlers in Siddharth Kaul and young recruit in Basil Thampi managed only six wickets in ten games between them. They have not been able to put a thread on the scoring rate either, after giving away runs at an average of more than nine per over in the 2019 season.
The side will also benefit hugely if there are consistent returns for the likes of Manish Pandey and Wriddhiman. Forming the Indian middle order batting core, the duo are experienced IPL players and should look at assuming a greater scoring responsibility in the odd occasion of Warner and Bairstow failing.
Other than Bhuvi, there are other Indian fast bowling options available. Khaleel Ahmed provides that variety with his left-arm style, giving him the edge to make the cut even in the presence of IPL veterans in Sandeep Sharma and Sid Kaul.
All being said and done, it’s going to be another exciting season. Online fantasy game users should not be surprised if Sunrisers Hyderabad book themselves a play-off spot. And if that happens, it will be for the fifth consecutive season. Quite a record, won’t you think?