It took only four years for the defending champions to clinch the IPL title after they replaced Deccan Chargers in 2013. The orange army coached and led by the aggressive Australians Tom Moody and David Warner is one of the most balanced sides on paper. IPL had always been kind to Australian captains from Warne, Gilly and so it was for Warner when he replaced Dhawan as the skipper. Sunrisers Hyderabad is one of the few teams that have improved every year depending on the likes of talented players showcasing the art of teamwork. With Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Laxman as mentors and the South African speedster Dale Steyn as bowling coach, the defending champions have a settled look to their squad.
Do they have it in them to defend their title?
Captain leading from the front, Warner assures 400 runs in the season if he gets settled early. The team not greatly affected by this year’s injury affected premier league has a variety of players with a strong middle order led by the Yuvraj Singh and Kane Williamson. Young sensations like Deepak Hooda and Barinder Sran who have proved themselves already add further value to the team.
All rounders Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Ben Cutting and the Afghan skipper Nabi provide the perfect balance to this team and strengthens the lower middle order. The strongest of all is their mighty bowling lineup, led by Ashish Nehra and Bhuvi, death bowling is a cake walk for them with young gun Mustafizur who was outstanding last season.
The weakness of SRH will be their batting. Though Warner did amazingly well last season, his continuous failure in the test series against India would have greatly affected his confidence levels. Yes, the format and the competition changes, but the overdependence on Warner will be an added pressure. No other batsman from SRH stepped up as they should have, and if Warner goes back early, it could be curtains down for them this time too.
Will Shikhar be the anchor of the innings? Will Yuvraj be the star finisher which they lack? A lot of questions need to be answered. They also lacked a rank spinner, now fulfilled by Rashid and Nabi, the Afghan spin twins. Considering that they can only play four foreign players, finding the right balance could become a serious problem for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Sunrisers Hyderabad over the seasons have defended some low scores, batting first and defending the target has been their trend. With a couple of star performers they can repeat the same this year. With the variety of bowling in their den their bowlers will create all sorts of problems for the opposition batsman. Scoring big against them is never a bed of roses. With ample support from the dugout and if they get their combinations right, they have every chance to be the second team to defend their title after CSK.
They do not have enough batsmen if you take out Warner, Williamson and Yuvraj. They are only left with Shikhar Dhawan and Naman Ojha, both of whom are mercurial and can crumble under pressure. Considering Williamson bench warmed the whole of last season, if any out of these top four gets injured then their situation could get even worse. Sunrisers Hyderabad is not a team that bats deep down the order and chasing big totals looks like a problem that they need to tackle.
Given that Warner and Yuvraj step up, they just have to start from where they left last year, and they could have one hand on the trophy already with some eyebrow raising inclusions to their balanced squad. The orange army is up and raring to roar once more.
Tanmay Agarwal, Mohammad Nabi, Ekalavya Dwivedi, Rashid Khan, Pravin Tambe, Chris Jordan, Ben Laughlin, Mohammed Siraj, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, David Warner, Moises Henriques, Naman Ojha, Ricky Bhui, Kane Williamson, Siddarth Kaul, Bipul Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh, Ben Cutting, Abhimanyu Mithun, Mustafizur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Deepak Hooda, Vijay Shankar.