From three wins out of their first nine games, Sunrisers Hyderabad brilliantly marched a comeback, with four wins in their next five encounters to seal a place in the playoffs. However, their brilliant late run in the season was cut short by a dominant Delhi Capitals side just before the final.
It could have been a season of nearly, ifs and buts for Sunrisers Hyderabad as it did look in the early half of the season where they were hanging last on the points table. That’s really where their season picked up the pace, like a Quentin Tarantino movie. In the second half, they came out much positively, with David Warner finding his form, the emergence of Wriddhiman Saha, the return of Kane Williamson, a stunning all-round cameo from Jason Holder and a dependable duo of Rashid Khan-Sandeep Sharma, all summed up with just three incidents in their campaign - injuries to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mitchell Marsh and Jonny Bairstow’s drop. In all, a rollercoaster of a campaign for them, where the start of the movie looked like a drag before it left the audience wanting for more as they ended their IPL.
Of course, their main man, who was in the middle of all things for Sunrisers Hyderabad - not David Warner but Rashid Khan, that’s where the movie was played out really well. We knew that he was always going to play a big role in the movie but didn’t expect him to stand-out this much in the tournament, where the pacers clearly ran away with the wickets. It is no joke that his performance, his demeanour stood out and defined the team - for they too didn’t quit just like him. Even when he wasn’t striking, he created the pressure on the opponent’s batting unit and 20 wickets, all coming at a crucial phase, defines how big the Afghan spinner is to this Sunrisers movie.
As such, Sunrisers are usually one of the rare sides in the tournament who don’t have a clear antagonist but this season, it was a different tale with a certain Manish Pandey walking to bat at No.3. The expectations were clearly there - he had a huge role to play and that too when Kane Williamson warmed the bench, he had a responsibility to shoulder. However, his 425 runs don’t paint the right picture, he endured one of his worst seasons in the IPL, with a strike-rate of just 127.62. When required for the franchise, barring the Rajasthan Royals encounter, the right-hander went missing and the Kings XI Punjab game just showcased his struggle, defining his season!
Marks for direction - 8/10
In the first half of the season, you could question the questionable Trevor Bayliss but after their season endured into a pathetic one, where all their decisions were questioned, they took charge and made season-saving decisions. That included bringing back Kane Williamson into the playing XI and making room for Jason Holder, an all-rounder that was important to both their batting and bowling combination. Once they had done that, every decision of theirs, including opening with Wriddhiman Saha, worked out in their favour. Full marks to their management for trusting the youngsters Abdul Samad and Priyam Garg, who became vital components of their middle-order.
Both literally and figuratively, Thangarasu Natarajan was a definite hit for the franchise, who had just unearthed one of the best death bowling talents in the country. 76 yorkers this season, including the prized scalps of AB de Villiers and MS Dhoni, Natarajan filled the missing block of SRH’s bowling unit, with 16 wickets at an average of 31.50. Wriddhiman Saha’s resurgent batting at the top, with 214 runs at an average of 71.33 filled in the void left by Jonny Bairstow, in order to get their best team combination was the turning point of their season.
Kane Williamson acting as the pillar of strength at No.4 with 317 runs at 45.28 and a strike-rate of 133.75, including playing match-winning innings against RCB in the Eliminator and Jason Holder’s all-round show was arguably the best of Sunrisers' season. Alongside that, the youngsters - Abdul Samad and Priyam Garg played the innings of steel to take them home from difficult situations while Abhishek Sharma showed signs of brilliance.
Jonny Bairstow’s withering form was one of the biggest misses for the Sunrisers this season alongside Manish Pandey’s indifferent show in the middle-order. Let’s talk about Bairstow’s performance, being deemed as one of the main actors of this Sunrisers show ahead of the season, the right-hander showed glimpses of his prime form before withering away to a poor show, with just 345 runs. Pandey too was way below the mark and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was injured mid-season was a definite miss in Sunrisers’ bowling unit.
Surprisingly, the supporting actors played a bigger role in this Sunrisers’ above-average grosser, with Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Sandeep Sharma and Thangarasu Natarajan putting on a real show for the franchise this season. Garg, with 133 runs, at an average of 14.77 and a strike-rate of 119.81 showed signs of promise while Abdul Samad showed that his blade can strike at a rate of 170.76, against some of IPL’s top bowler - Kagiso Rabada and Jasprit Bumrah.
From the bowling front, Sandeep Sharma picked up 14 wickets, filling in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s shoes, at an average of 26.71 and T Natarajan, has shown that how Sunrisers were missing a bowler in the death overs. 16 wickets, at an average of 31.50 and yorkers was what could define Sunrisers’ bowling in the death.
Overall rating 7/10