UPDATED: April 5, 2021 11:59 AM IST
The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) made it to the playoffs several seasons later last year. Meanwhile, it was Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) who put an end to the Virat Kohli-led side’s ambitions as they emerged victorious in the eliminator last season.
However, SRH could only make it to the top three as their campaign in IPL 2020 came to an end with the Delhi Capitals (DC) coming back to form to win the qualifier. In a decent scoring game, Kane Williamson was the lone fighter for the team which later crumbled down as DC made it to the finals for the first time.
But the heartbreak around SRH’s exit had a bigger reason. After all, it’s one of the most consistent franchises in IPL over the years. The Sunrisers Hyderabad had opted for a coaching shake-up replacing Tom Moody with another serial winner in Trevor Bayliss last year. This year though the former England coach will be joined by Tom Moody,
who led SRH to a league title in 2016, as the franchise’s director of cricket.
David Warner, who replaced Kane Williamson as the skipper of Hyderbad based franchise ahead of last season, will continue to lead the side. Sunrisers became a part of the Indian Premier League in 2013 when they replaced Deccan Chargers, whose franchise contract was terminated.
Since then, Sunrisers have played two finals and won one. In fact, the team has qualified for the play-off stage of the tournament in every season since 2016. The biggest reason behind the success of SRH is that over the years, their auction strategies have been excellent credit to their impressive think-tank.
THE NEW RECRUITS
Sunrisers Hyderabad didn’t have much to do at the IPL 2021 auctions as they had all bases covered ahead of the event in February this year. The SRH think tank enjoyed a nice buffet lunch in Chennai, where the auction was held without having to get involved in those thrilling auction contests that have everyone on the edge of their seats.
To be fair to them, they didn’t have much remaining in their purse either but the recruitments that were made at the 2021 IPL auctions were rather smart by the SRH top brass. SRH have focussed majorly on getting an off-spinner at the level of Rashid Khan’s leg spin. The signing of Mujeeb Ur Rahman is thus justified.
Meanwhile, even though they have a Vijay Shankar, an Indian player with an all-rounder skillset, SRH went for Karnataka’s lower order batsman Jagadeesha Suchith and Kedar Jadhav in the auction. Suchith has previously represented the Mumbai Indians while Kedar was released from the CSK squad this year.
SRH also have a Jason Roy, a power-hitting opener, replacing all-rounder Mitchell Marsh who pulled out of the tournament due to bubble fatigue.
THE RETURN OF BHUVNESHWAR KUMAR
The yorker King of SRH, T Natarajan, had his fortunes turn around as he made his ODI, T20I and Test debut in Australia last year after his impressive performance for SRH in the 2020 IPL edition. With international experience under his belt, Natarajan is expected to take it a notch up higher this season.
Last year, a lot of responsibility had fallen on the shoulder of Natarajan in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has been the backbone of the side for several years. The veteran pacer missed most of the 2020 IPL season due to injury.
He missed several months of cricket before finally coming back in the home series against England wherein he impressed massively across the 5 T20Is and 3 ODIs. With this form, the SRH veteran is expected to great things for the franchise this IPL 2021 season.
After Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad may be the most balanced side walking into the IPL 2021 as they have all bases covered with their retained players and just the three new recruits. Naturally, Sunrisers Hyderabad had the biggest squad in the lead up to the auction.
Three gun overseas openers, since the addition of Jason Roy, along with Wriddhiman Saha who proved his mettle as an opener last year. The presence and expertise of Kane Williamson is probably the unusual X-factor of the side. A solid pace attack and a series of high-quality all-rounders in Mohammad Nabi, Kedar Jadhav, Jason Holder, Vijay Shankar and Abdul Samad.
Moreover, they have quality bowling with the spin department led by the best there is- Rashid Khan. He is joined by his Afghanistan teammates Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The pace department is stronger than ever with T Natarajan in the form of his life and with Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s return.
Ahead of the auctions, SRH was eyeing a backup for Vijay Shankar and went for a senior India batsman in the middle order, as expected. Kedar Jadhav, who was bought in the auction, is expected to be a good fit despite his poor run of form for Chennai Super Kings last season.
With Jason Roy coming in, for Mitch Marsh, the top order becomes a stronger yet overpopulated department in SRH’s team balance as Jonny Bairstow and captain David Warner are both ideally undroppable.
SRH FULL SQUAD
David Warner (c), Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha, Abdul Samad, Jason Roy, Jason Holder, Priyam Garg, Virat Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb ur Rahman, J Suchith
SRH FULL SCHEDULE FOR IPL 2021
April 11: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders- 7:30 PM, Chennai
April 14: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore- 7:30 PM, Chennai
April 17: Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad- 7:30 PM, Chennai
April 21: Punjab Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad- 3:30 PM, Chennai
April 25: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Delhi Capitals- 7:30 PM, Chennai
April 28: Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad- 7:30 PM, Delhi
May 2: Rajasthan Royals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad- 3:30 PM, Delhi
May 4: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians- 7.30 PM, Delhi
May 7: Friday Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings- 7.30 PM, Delhi
May 9: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad- 7.30 PM, Kolkata
May 13: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals- 7.30 PM, Kolkata
May 17: Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad- 7.30 PM, Kolkata
May 19, Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Punjab Kings- 3.30 PM, Bengaluru
May 21: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad- 3.30 PM, Bengaluru