The Sunrisers have entered every season as favourites since they have been introduced in the league. They always have had an extremely balanced squad, which has turned out to be their trademark. It is this ideal squad, due which they have been able to break into the playoffs every season since 2016. The story is the same this season as they look forward to winning their second title in 6 seasons. With David Warner returning as there, he would be eager to make a statement and the management has given him a perfect set of players to script a dream comeback. Let us have a look at the last year’s runners up’s squad.
The opening pair of Hyderabad consists of the returning David Warner and the Kiwi opener Martin Guptill. After shockingly trading Shikhar Dhawan to Delhi during the trade window, who was in red hot form, they are now left with a very underwhelming opening pair. Although both Warner and Guptill have the reputation of giving the team a good start no one knows this pair will perform. While Warner has been away from International cricket for a year now but he has been playing T20 leagues and has done reasonably well. Being away from competitive cricket, Warner is a long way from where he left in the tenth season and that will be a concern for the management. On the other hand, Guptill had a great year with the Kiwis, hammering 410 runs in 10 matches with a strike rate of 146.95 and hopefully will be able to fill Dhawan’s shoes. In case the big names fail, Wriddhiman Saha can open the innings. He has done so previously for other franchises and has also scored a century.
The middle order was the Sunrisers’ prime concern last season. Although they had the big names, they didn’t perform up to the mark, which was their only drawback last season. The middle order of Sunrisers have the likes of Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Jonny Bairstow and Deepak Hooda. Kane was in great form last season as he leads them to the final and everyone expects him to fire this season too. Although Manish Pandey had a quiet outing with Hyderabad in the last season he has been in runs since then for India A as well as in the domestic circuit. His performance will be vital for the team as they will be expecting their middle order to score a bulk of runs in case the new opening pair fails. Jonny Bairstow will also provide stability to the team but his availability is questionable not only for this season but for the ones to come due to England’s International schedule.
The all-rounders Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan and Vijay Shankar can provide those useful runs at the death. Another important factor will be Rashid Khan. Many of you may be surprised to the reading this but his recent performances justify him as a finisher. He has done it for quite sometimes for Afghanistan and the Adelaide Strikers recently and can help Hyderabad with his new found talent.
The spin attack of Sunrisers has been the reason for their success in the last few seasons. They have the Afghani duo of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. Rashid has had a great year in all the leagues he played around the world as well as for the national team. The Afghan teenager has the ability to turn matches on its head single-handedly. Hyderabad also has the services of Shakib Al Hasan, who has a unique ability to check the flow of runs. With such variety in the spin department, it is no secret why the middle overs are a walk in a park for the Sunrisers.
The fast bowling department of Hyderabad has always been a complete package. The likes of Bhubaneswar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma and Billy Stanlake are just too tough for the opposition to deal with. One shouldn’t forget the young guns Siddarth Kaul, Basil Thampi and Khaleel Ahmed who are budding under the experienced lad. The only reason Sunrisers were able to become the runners up with an underperforming middle order, is this formidable pace battery. This set of bowlers have the ability to bowl well with the new ball and are also exceptional in the death.
Unlike the previous seasons, this Sunrisers squad looks a bit unbalanced. The batting unit is not reliable barring one or two batsmen and the all the responsibility cannot be left upon the bowlers. If the batsmen live up to the expectations, then this will be a squad to look out for this IPL otherwise it will be really tough to survive in a T20 league of this standard by only relying on your bowler.
Wriddhiman Saha - 1.20 crores
Jonny Bairstow - 2.20 crores
Martin Guptill - 1 crore
Kane Williamson, David Warner, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Yusuf Pathan, Billy Stanlake, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al-Hasan, Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem and Abhishek Sharma.