Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) made their debut in the 2013 season, replacing Deccan Chargers who were terminated after going bankrupt. The Hyderabad-based franchise has featured in 7 editions of the IPL and achieved top-four finishes on five occasions.
The 2016 champions have been one of the most consistent teams in the tournament in the recent years, having qualified for the playoffs for each of the last four seasons. Over the seasons, the team has won admiration from the cricket lovers for their ability to defend low scores. The super-consistent David Warner has undoubtedly been the most valuable player for the franchise, having won the Orange Cap thrice.
SRH were rather fortunate to make it to the playoffs in 2019 as the team ended the league stage with 12 points, just sneaking into top four by virtue of better run-rate, ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab. It was also the first instance in the league’s history that a team booked a final four finish despite having a negative win-loss ratio. SRH fell behind in most aspect and were overly dependent on the individual brilliance of their destructive opening duo of David Warner & Jonny Bairstow and spinner Rashid Khan. The franchise would be expecting that their Indian players excel this time if they have to come anywhere near to their second conquest.
The full squad of Sunrisers Hyderabad is as follows:
David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Virat Singh, Michell Marsh, Vijay Shankar, Bavanka Sandeep, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Shahbaz Nadeem, Billy Stanlake, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Fabian Allen and Sanjay Yadav.
Martin Guptill, Deepak Hooda, Ricky Bhui and Yusuf Pathan were the four players released by the franchise while Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Mitchell Marsh, Bavanka Sandeep, Fabian Allen, Abdul Samad, Sanjay Yadav were the players added for the new season.
The team has also appointed Trevor Bayliss, England’s World Cup-winning coach, as head coach. He will be replacing Tom Moody who made the team finish in top four in each of the last four seasons. David Warner has got his captaincy back from Kane Williamson.
SRH is a top-order heavy batting side. The dangerous opening pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow is probably the most deadly opening combination among all teams. The duo was incredible in the last edition and provided the team with brilliant starts throughout the season. Warner smashed 692 runs in 14 innings at an average of 69.20 and strike rate of 143.86 Bairstow struck 445 runs in 10 innings at an average of 55.63 and a strike rate of 157.24. The pair complemented each other brilliantly, simultaneously playing the role of an aggressor. The team will be wishing that the pair duplicates the heroics of the last year.
The other notable names in SRH’s batting line up are Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey. Kane Williamson, the orange cap winner of 2018, didn’t have an outstanding tournament the last time as he could accumulate just 157 runs in 9 innings at a strike rate of 120. The passing of captaincy back to David Warner also makes it evident that the Kiwi captain isn’t ensured of a place in the XI. Manish Pandey had a relatively better 2019 season where he scored 344 runs in 11 innings at a strike rate of 130. The right-handed batsman has also got his spot back in the white-ball side of India and has featured regularly in the t20 format over the last few series.
The middle-order was the weakling for the 2016 champions last year. To fix their middle-order woes, the franchise picked exciting talents such as Priyam Garg, Virat Singh and Abdul Samad in the auction. But expecting consistency from the youngsters who will be playing their debut season maybe too much so someone like Vijay Shankar will have to make a big influence with the bat, which may also bring him back in the reckoning for the national team selection. Mitchell Marsh and Fabian Allen are also a part of the squad but both of them are probably going to warn beach at least during the starting phase of the tournament.
SRH spin attack looks robust in spite of Shakib Al Hasan’s absence. Afghan duo of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi has made a name for themselves in the T20 leagues around the world. Rashid has been the go-to bowler for SRH since his debut in 2017 whereas Nabi has also done well whenever he has got a shot. With this season being held in UAE, Nabi is likely to be a regular feature in the XI. Shahbaaz Nadeem may also get a look in the low and slow surfaces of UAE.
Between 2016-2018, SRH’s bowling attack was regarded as the strongest in the league and it was built around the Indian pacers. The likes of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Sidharth Kaul were poor in the death overs last season and they failed to close the matches for their side. If SRH has to stand among favourites then they will want both Bhuvi and Kaul to come good this time. Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan and Basil Thampi are the other pacers in the squad.
Probable XI: 1. David Warner 2. Jonny Bairstow 3. Manish Pandey 4. Priyam Garg/ Virat Singh 5. Abdul Samad/ Virat Singh 6. Vijay Shankar 7. Mohammad Nabi 8. Rashid Khan 9. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 10. Sidharth Kaul 11. Khaleel Ahmed/ Sandeep Sharma.
Author’s take: Sunrisers are strong contenders to finish in the top four. If their Indian players fire then they would be among the favourites to lift the title.