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IPL 2020 preview: Sunrisers Hyderabad

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Roar Guru
13th March, 2020
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Located in south-east India, Hyderabad is well known for its biryani. It’s also the home of Australian tormentor VVS Laxman.

The city has seen their side win the IPL trophy twice, in 2009 and 2016, and the team will be looking to repeat the feat again this year.

The franchise has gone through with a few changes, such as Trevor Bayliss replacing Tom Moody as head coach and David Warner being named captain for this edition.

Sunrisers Hyderabad squad

Batsmen: David Warner (captain), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg
Keepers: Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami
All-rounders: Fabian Allen, Mitch Marsh, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Bavanaka Sandeep, Sanjay Yadav
Seamers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Billy Stanlake, Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi, Thangarasu Natarajan
Spinners: Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem
How they fared in 2019: fourth

Sunrisers never really got going in last year’s edition. David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey all had brilliant individual seasons, but the rest were bang average with the bat. Despite winning six of their 14 round robin games and only one of their last five, Hyderabad finished fourth and scraped through to the play-offs on net run rate. They lost to Delhi in the last over by two wickets in the eliminator.

David Warner IPL

(Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

Strengths

Batting, seamers, plenty of matchwinners

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Any side that has David Warner and Jonny Bairstow opening in a T20 are set for high totals. Both players will go all guns blazing to give Sunrisers a fast start. The pair gave Sunrisers an average of 79.1 runs per opening partnership, with four 100-plus stands and two 50-plus stands. Talk about demoralising opposition bowlers. Having players like Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson coming in after the openers makes Sunrisers a very strong batting side. India under-19s captain Priyam Garg and youngster Virat Singh will learn a lot from their seniors this edition and could fire if given the chance.

Delhi’s DNA has been to give young Indian batsmen a go. Hyderabad’s has been to give young Indian seamers a go. Most of the time this ploy has worked well for both the franchise and for Indian cricket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the leader of the pack, swinging with the new ball and nailing his wide yorkers in the death.

One man who stood out in the last edition for Sunrisers was Khaleel Ahmed. Despite playing just nine games, the young left-arm seamer took 17 wickets and made it to the top five wicket-takers of the 2019 IPL. This edition he’ll be looking to play every game and emulate last season’s feats.

Bar Basil Thampi and Thangarasu Natarajan, all the Sunrisers quicks have represented their country in white-ball cricket. This gives their seam attack an undisputed advantage especially when it’ll come to pressure moments.

T20 cricket doesn’t always go to script. It’s the perfect format for upsets. That’s why having matchwinners who can bail you out of trouble is crucial. While Warner and Bairstow are obvious matchwinners with the bat, Sunrisers’ biggest threat with the ball is Rashid Khan. After 46 games in the IPL the Afghan leggie has 55 wickets at an economy of only 6.55. He offers control and wickets.

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All-rounders like Fabian Allen, Mohammad Nabi and Vijay Shankar have shown their ability to finish off the innings under pressure and give their sides another bowling option.

It’s really hard to find a weakness in this Sunrisers squad. If anything, it’ll be having the perfect combination of four foreigners in their playing XI. David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Rashid Khan are automatic picks in this side. The real question will be whether Kane Williamson will bat at No. 3 to strengthen the top order, which then leads to the Indian all-rounders to play as finishers. Or do you go with someone like Fabian Allen or Mohammad Nabi in the middle order to allow Priyarm Garg to get a shot in the top four?

It’ll be a tough choice for Trevor Bayliss and the rest of the Sunrisers coaching staff to come up with, but it shows the depth and quality that Sunrisers Hyderabad possesses.

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Predicted XI

David Warner (captain), Jonny Bairstow (keeper), Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Billy Stanlake, Khaleel Ahmed.

Verdict

Sunrisers Hyderabad should have a much better season compared to last year’s edition. They have too many matchwinners in this squad to miss out on the playoffs. If everything goes to plan, they should finish in the top two and play in the IPL final. Whether they win the whole thing depends on if they turn up on the day.