David Warner’s ‘Orange Army’ surprised everybody last year by clinching their first-ever Indian Premier League (IPL) title beating Royal Challengers Bangalore in a thrilling finale. Since their inception in 2013, the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have played an aggressive brand of cricket but never managed to earn the favourites tag. In their first season in 2013, SRH caught everyone’s attention by making it to the playoffs but failed to make it to the finals.
However, in 2016, the Orange camp went a notch further and emerged as a strong force like never seen before in the shorter version of the game. From batting to bowling to fielding, SRH covered all the basics of the game which made them the side to beat in the cash-rich tournament. With season 10 all set to begin, Sunrisers once again have a herculean task defending their prestigious IPL trophy.
In this article, we take a look at the reasons which can make a difference for SRH in the 2017 edition of IPL:
Captain to lead from the front
A modern-day great of the gentlemen’s game – David Warner will once again have the responsibility to carry his franchise all the way in the 10th season of IPL. The Aussie batsman has been the fulcrum of the Sunrisers’ top order right from the day he joined the Hyderabad-based outfit. He has also been their most prolific run-getter in the past two editions.
Warner was at his belligerent best especially in the last season where he scored 848 runs in 17 matches at an average of over 60.
The ‘Pocket Dynamo’ struck nine half-centuries and scored at an astonishing strike rate of close to 152. Warner opens the innings with India’s Shikhar Dhawan, the duo form one of the best opening pairs in IPL history. The presence of a rejuvenated Yuvraj Singh in the middle order is a huge boost for SRH who has the support of all-rounders like Moises Henriques, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nabi and Deepak Hooda in this season.
Old warhorse Nehra ready to impress?
Sunrisers Hyderabad boast of arguably the best bowling attack in the tournament with some world class fast bowlers resting in their arsenal. Hyderabad’s new-ball bowlers are their strongest suit and this season as well the trend is likely to remain the same. Their fast bowling attack is hard to match for any team and is something that gives them an edge over their competitors.
Led wonderfully by India’s veteran pacer Ashish Nehra, SRH has the swing of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and variations of Mustafizur Rahman which makes them a dangerous combination in the shorter format. Newly-bought Chris Jordan and uncapped Mohammed Siraj will add more dimensions to the SRH pace attack. Bhuvneshwar was the ‘Purple Cap’ holder in the 2016 season of IPL, the wily Kumar picked up 23 wickets in 17 matches he played last season.
All-rounders to provide depth to SRH
On paper, Sunrisers have a well-balanced team who are more than capable of playing well in every condition or on any surface. The Orange outfit has a good blend of experience and youth which provides them with a greater depth as compared to the other teams.
Apart from a solid batting and bowling units, SRH enjoy the presence of some quality all-rounders who can contribute with both bat and ball at crucial moments. The likes of Moises Henriques, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda and Afghanistan’s Mohammed Nabi lends SRH terrific balance to the side.
X-factor – Rashid Khan
Just like last year when speedster Mustafizur Rahman provided that X-factor to the Sunrisers franchise, this year it could be teenager Rashid Khan. The Afghani cricketer was bought at a whopping price of Rs. 4 crores in the IPL Player Auction in February this year. So far, the 19-year old has been nothing short of impressive with his brilliant off-spin bowling. He can provide the killer edge and surprise element that Sunrisers need to defend their title.
Sunrisers Hyderabad will take on runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore on 5th April at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad in the opening game of IPL 2017.