IPL 2023 | Sunrisers Hyderabad - Striving to overcome mediocrity in hunt for clinical old-self
Umran Malik can wreak havoc with his explosive pace in the IPL|
(SportsCafe Graphic Team)
Ever since their IPL journey commenced in 2013, Sunrisers Hyderabad had constantly unlocked doors to the playoffs including a brilliant title win in 2016. However, after having two horrendous seasons in 2021 and 2022, they have formed one of the strongest teams via the mini-auction ahead of the IPL.
Most of the T20 tournaments around the world are dominated by certain franchises winning trophies on multiple occasions while some are consistent throughout all seasons and Indian Premier League is no exception to that. Sunrisers Hyderabad have been one of the consistent franchises in the IPL, making it to the playoffs on six occasions since their inception in 2013, including a title run in 2016. Till 2020, they were always considered to be sure of making it beyond the league stage but the last two seasons witnessed a sudden downfall.
First, they were engulfed in a controversy around the decision to strip off Warner’s captaincy in 2021. Last year, Kane Williamson was supposed to be their main man but he went through the disastrous form and it led them to an eighth-place finish in the points table. At one point of time during the league stage, SRH were appearing to be a strong contender with five wins in a row but five defeats in a row after that hampered their campaign. Overall, they were a quality side but a lack of collective effort from the batting and bowling unit in crucial matches produced poor results in the points table.
Traditionally, SRH always had a quality bowling unit and that was always their strength. However, in the last two seasons, the bowlers’ form seemed to have waned, and releasing Rashid Khan in the mega auction turned out to be a costly mistake. Also, Warner was their star performer most of the seasons but after he was dropped and eventually released from the squad, the team missed the destruction he used to cause at the top of the batting order.
March 29, 2023
However, Abhishek Sharma and Umran Malik had their breakthrough seasons last year and the duo was one of the positives the team would like to utilize this year as well.
Positives from last season
Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi were the leading run-scorers for the team with a tally of 426 and 413 runs respectively which benefitted the team most in the middle phase of the game. Aiden Markram, Tripathi, and Pooran majorly batted between overs 7 to 15. All of them averaged above 30 during the mentioned period and had a strike rate of 130 or more. The middle stage of the innings was even more beneficial for the team than their title-winning side in 2016. The trio smashed 34 sixes together while Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, and Yuvraj Singh had hit just 21 sixes together in 2016. There is no doubt that Tirpathi’s form majorly helped the team steer the scoreboard in middle overs and so the franchise scored 73 runs in the mentioned phase on average. Thus, they are placed fourth in the list of teams who scored the most runs between overs 7 to 15.
March 29, 2023
Although the bowling unit was not up to the mark for the team, their wicket-taking ability was prolific in the first six overs during the season. They picked 24 wickets from 14 innings last season and the trait was similar to their title-winning side as SRH had scalped 26 wickets in 17 innings seven years ago. SRH turned out to be the joint leaders amongst the teams who took the highest number of wickets. Along with RR, they registered 1.71 wickets per innings during the powerplay.
T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Marco Jansen bowled the majority of the overs in the powerplay. The Indian left-arm seamer was the leader of the pack with six wickets from 11 innings while Marco Jansen picked five wickets from 21 overs.
Things that derailed the campaign
Skipper Williamson’s form was the biggest letdown for the franchise and it eventually culminated in the team releasing him ahead of the mini-auction for the IPL 2023. Their batting performance in the powerplay was affected the most as they became the team with the least average runs inside the first six overs. They managed to score only 42.79 runs during powerplay on average and their top three Abhishek, Tripathi, and Williamson were mostly responsible for this. Comparing their performance to the title-winning team in 2016, Warner was the biggest difference as he single-handedly scored 467 runs in the first six overs while the trio amassed only 36 runs more in combination.
The New Zealand batter disappointed the most, scoring just 110 runs from 10 innings at a strike rate of 76.39. The stagnancy from one end compelled the other opener Abhishek Sharma to play cautiously and so he registered a strike rate of 125.62, failing to capitalise on fielding restrictions.
March 29, 2023
Rashid Khan was the team's key spinner in recent years but their move to let go of him in the IPL 2022 mega auction turned out to be a fatal mistake. They conceded 76.43 runs between overs 7 to 15 on average last season which was the highest number amongst all 10 teams. Umran, Jagadeesha Suchith, Washington Sundar, and T Natarajan bowled most of the time for the team. Umran was a prolific wicket-taker of the team during the ten-over window but his economy rate of 8.66 was worrisome. Also, Washington and Natarajan had a bowling average of more than 40 and a strike rate of more than 30.
The economy was the biggest difference here as most of the SRH bowlers bowled with an economy below 8 in 2016. While in 2022, only Washington, Natarajan, and Suchith achieved the same feat.
Addressing issues at the auction table
Analyzing their performance from the last season, SRH opted for a complete batting overhaul at the auction table. Courtesy of the poor form displayed by Williamson, the team had released him ahead of the auction. Thus, they acquired the services of Mayank Agarwal for a price of INR 8.25 Crores.
The team already lacked a finisher who can cause some destruction with the bat in the lower order plus they released Nicholas Pooran ahead of the mini-auction for the season and that created the need to add some batting firepower. SRH splashed a huge amount in the bidding war room buying Harry Brook for an expensive price of INR 13.25 Crores. To find an alternative to Pooran’s wicketkeeping duties, SRH also added Heinrich Klaasen to the roster.
The spin department was the one that they lacked after Rashid’s departure and The Sun network decided to overcome this issue. They picked two quality spinners in T20 leagues around the world - Adil Rashid and Akeal Hosein. The duo will give the team the flexibility to play with the squad and name a strong lineup even on spin-friendly surfaces.
Impact Player rule
The orange army have all their bases covered when it comes to maximizing the Impact Player rule’s potential. They have Aiden Markram and Harry Brook in the side who are certain to play in the final lineup. Additionally, either Heinrich Klassen or Glenn Phillips will take over the wicketkeeping duties. One of Marco Jansen, Adil Rashid, or Akeil Hossain will be their fourth overseas option depending on the nature of the surface. Now, the team has some quality Indian talents in the lineup and Kartik Tyagi, Mayank Markande, and Anmolpreet Singh can be utilised as impact players.
While batting first, the team can bring in Tyagi or Markande in place of either Agarwal or Tripathi. While bowling first, they can use Abdul Samad in the second innings by taking out either Natarajan or Umran Malik. Overall, they have a strong squad composition and so it allows them the liberty to use impact players and give Indian domestic players a chance to shine.
SRH have formed a solid batting unit at least on paper and if they will perform according to their reputation, the franchise is going to be an unstoppable force with the bat. Mayank Agarwal, Abhishek, and Tripathi will form their top three while Markram, Harry Brook, and Glen Phillips will combine to form the lower order. They have covered all the bases but Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Natarajan’s form might be their topic of worry. Bhuvneshwar isn’t the old version of himself anymore and his form has slumped in recent years. Also, the left-arm seamer will be coming back from injury and so whether he will bowl as efficiently as last season is a question to be asked.
Overall, SRH appears to be a very strong unit on paper and so they might finish at the third position by the end of the tournament.