Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), the champions of the 2016 edition of the IPL, will be hunting for their second title in the upcoming 15th edition of the cash-rich league. The Sunrisers are one of the most consistent teams in the tournament, having made it to the playoffs in each of the following seasons since winning their maiden title five years ago. However, this season, they will be without two of their match-winners over several seasons – David Warner and Rashid Khan, both of whom have been let go.
Ahead of the auction, SRH retained Kane Williamson, who took over the captaincy midway through IPL 2021, and the uncapped Abdul Samad and Umran Malik, both of whom play for Jammu and Kashmir in domestic cricket. Malik, who played a few games for Hyderabad last season as a replacement for T Natarajan who contracted Covid19, made headlines for his sensational bowling speed.
Coming into the auction, SRH had an available balance of Rs 90 crore, of which they exhausted Rs 89.90 crore. Some of their top buys were Nicholas Pooran at Rs 10.75 crore, Washington Sundar at Rs 8.75 crore and Rahul Tripathi at Rs 8.50 crore.
Kane Williamson, Nicholas Pooran, Washington Sundar, Rahul Tripathi, Romario Shepherd, Abhishek Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Marco Jansen, T Natarajan, Abdul Samad, Kartik Tyagi, Umran Malik, Aiden Markram, Sean Abbott, Glenn Phillips, Shreyas Gopal, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Priyam Garg, J Suchith, Shashank Singh, R Samarth, Saurabh Dubey and Vishnu Vinod
The Sunrisers Hyderabad probably have the best pace attack among all the 10 IPL teams. They brought back Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the auction, who will be trusted with the new ball. Kumar has been with SRH since the 2014 edition, and is also a two-time purple cap winner – in 2016 and 2017.
For the death overs they have T Natarajan, who missed out on most of the IPL 2021 due to being sick with Covid19. The pacer has made a name for himself with his toe-crushing yorkers that can bamboozle the best of batsmen.
SRH also have Umran Malik, who made his IPL debut last season when Natarajan was ruled out due to Covid19. The speed gun clocked 151.03 kmph on his IPL debut, and 153 kmph a few days later, which was also the fastest delivery of IPL 2021. Impressed by Umran’s bowling speed, the Indian team took him along for the T20 World Cup as a net bowler. In case a backup for Kumar or Natarajan is needed, Malik will play an important role for the side. Other decent pace bowling options that SRH have are Sean Abbott, Marco Jansen and all-rounder Romario Shepherd.
SRH seem to have more weaknesses than strengths for this season. Hyderabad’s spin department looks lacklustre without their match-winning spin bowler Rashid Khan, who was signed by Gujarat Titans before the auction. Shreyas Gopal, who is not among the biggest names, will spearhead SRH’s spin department which will also comprise of all-rounder Washington Sundar, who is coming into the tournament after a long injury layoff.
The team’s batting, too, looks weak on paper, especially after letting go of David Warner, who had a one-off bad season last year. The team will be heavily reliant on Kane Williamson and Rahul Tripathi for runs. While Nicholas Pooran is another exciting batsmen, he is best known for playing short but quick knocks. The other batsmen – Abhishek Sharma and Priyam Garg – are low on experience and not reliable.
Predicted playing XI – Rahul Tripathi, Abhishek Sharma, Kane Williamson, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Glenn Phillips, Washington Sundar, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shreyas Gopal, Kartik Tyagi, T. Natarajan