The defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad will be under pressure when they start their campaign in the new season of Indian Premier League, because of the expectations to replicate last year’s brilliant run.
Hyderabad did falter last season in between but managed to find their mojo back by reaching the playoffs and then setting up a summit clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Hyderabad vs Bangalore was the ideal final clash, with both teams remaining consistent throughout and more importantly the respective captains leading from the front.
At the end, it was Virat Kohli who had the Orange Cap but David Warner finished second with 848 runs at an average of 60.57, which included nine fifties. In the players’ auction last month, the team management comprising of Tom Moody and VVS Laxman made right choices by making surprise picks in Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan. Hyderabad, going into the auction had retained their core team, which will help them picking the right combination in this new season.
Hyderabad’s strength has been their team unity and believing in doing their basics right. This year too, all eyes would be on captain Warner to go ballistic who is coming to the tournament after a hectic international schedule. He failed to fire in the Test series against India but can bounce back in a completely different format. Shikhar Dhawan will be another batsman, Hyderabad will heavily depend on after his last year’s exploits by scoring 501 runs at an average of 38.53, which included four fifties.
In bowling, they have adequate firepower to blow away any opposition. Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished with the Purple Cap in 2016, by finishing with 23 wickets from 17 matches at an average of 21.30 and an economy of 7.42. Then they have Barinder Sran and Moises Henriques, with both having taken 26 wickets between themselves.
In Rashid, they have a completely unknown entity and can prove to be a match-winner. Not to forget, Mohammed Siraj, the rookie Indian pacer bought for Rs 2.6 crore and could be an ideal replacement for Mustafizur Rahman, who may miss out on IPL due to an injury.
The only weakness that is so palpable is their middle-order. In last season also, Hyderabad failed to decide on a settled middle order and Yuvraj Singh taking the burden of steadying things. The key has to be the start and the onus will be on the openers (Warner and Dhawan). Although in Kane Williamson they have a solid batsman but the New Zealand captain was not a regular last year, but this time the team management needs to do a rethink.
Chances this season:
Undoubtedly, Hyderabad start as favourites for the title but crucial would be the momentum and form of their key players.
If the top players fire with able support from the young Indian players, then the holders can hope of advancing to the playoffs.
Squad: 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, Tanmay Agarwal, Mohammad Nabi, Ekalavya Dwivedi, Rashid Khan, Pravin Tambe, Chris Jordan, Ben Laughlin, Mohammed Siraj.