Sunrisers Hyderabad: Proving the pre-tournament assumptions wrong
Kane Williamson is leading the SRH for IPL 2022|
After the mega auction of IPL 2022, many had considered that Sunrisers Hyderabad had built a weak squad and that appeared to be the reality after defeats in the first two games. SRH, however, scripted a turn-around winning four matches in a row and can also enter the playoffs with this kind of form.
After winning their first title in 2016, Sunrisers Hyderabad had been waiting for another title for five years. The team was consistent the next four years after winning the title, qualifying for the playoffs every single time. However, the 2021 season was their downfall as they finished at the bottom of the points table after the league stage and exited the tournament. SRH’s success throughout the IPL from 2016 relied mostly on David Warner and also on Jonny Bairstow to some extent.
Warner experienced a poor form of run in 2021 and was kept out of the team in a few last games. He wasn’t even allowed to travel with the team and it clearly indicated that his alliance with the franchise is over as there was going to be a mega auction next edition. Ahead of the mega auction for the IPL 2022, SRH retained three players namely Kane Williamson as the leading choice and two youngsters in form of Abdul Samad and Umran Malik. The retention of Abdul Samad has been a mystery as he has played only two matches for them so far this season.
The opening pair of Abhishek Sharma and Kane Williamson was not looking good as Abhishek is still an inexperienced player as he has not played much in such a highly competitive cricket. Williamson has been a consistent run-scorer in the IPL averaging 45.28 and 44.23 in the last couple of seasons but he has a strike rate of 133.75 and 113.19. His strike rate was the issue and it might have led to a lack of attacking intent and exploiting the power play.
Washington Sundar was the main spinner of the team and he doesn’t have a very impressive record in the IPL. Sundar has picked 31 wickets from 46 matches but his economy of 7.03 was good. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s pace was slowed down a bit while playing for India in the tournaments before IPL. Natarajan has a reputation of being an injury-prone player and so the team’s bowling attack was looking very fragile.
IPL 2022 started and the speculations about the team started to turn into reality as SRH lost their first two matches of the tournament. They first lost against Rajasthan Royals by 61 runs and then suffered a defeat against Lucknow Super Giants by 12 runs. The team’s top-order failed to deliver in both the matches, however, they bounced back in the competition after that winning four games in a row and bringing out a new version of themselves.
The form of Rahul Tripathi has been the biggest reason for the positive change in the team’s campaign. Tripathi has amassed 205 runs in six innings at 51.25 and an impressive strike rate of 173.73. He has been in an amazing touch so far and looks to be the most reliable batter currently in the SRH batting unit. Aiden Markram has been also playing very well and has three impressive scores of 57*, 68*, and 41*. He has scored 190 runs from six matches at 190 and a strike rate of 150.79. The duo of Tripathi and Markram has assured a solid finish for the team in almost each of the games.
Washington Sundar picked just three wickets in six matches of the IPL 2021. Looking at his record in the last season, his wicket-taking ability was in doubt. However, Williamson optimised him very well this season and Sundar has restricted batters from scoring runs in the powerplay. He has picked four wickets from four matches and has also contributed with the bat. Bhuvneshwar Kumar also seemed to have regained his form as he has picked eight wickets from six matches with an economy of 7.75 so far in the season. He is swinging the new balls both ways and using pace variations and yorkers very well in death overs.
With the experience Umran Malik has on his side, his retention by the franchise was questionable. However, Malik has impressed everyone with his pace and picked nine wickets from six matches. However, Malik hasn’t been able to hit the right line and lengths this season but still, he troubles the batters with his pace. Finally, T Natarajan has been the hero of the bowling unit. The left-handed fast bowler was usually known to be a death specialist but he is now playing in a new role for the franchise. Natarajan also bowls in the powerplay and middle overs along with death overs. He has picked 12 wickets in the six matches of the IPL 2022 and has been impressive.
With a collective team effort, SRH have scripted a comeback in the tournament. They lost their first two games against RR and LSG but won four games in a row versus CSK, GT, KKR, and PBKS. Only, the opening pair seems to be an unsolved question for SRH as Abhishek Sharma has not been able to score consistently. Williamson is solid with his technique but his strike rate becomes an issue sometimes. Bowling is the strong area for the franchise and that is the reason for their success.
Looking at the current form of the team, they can be strong title contenders this season and can win the title once again like in 2016.