You look at Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and they are never listed as the favourites to win the IPL title. Yes, there are some big superstars in the side but they never hog the limelight as a team. But they are always in and around the playoffs. Ever since their debut in 2014, SRH have invariably made it to the playoffs. Only in 2015 and 2017 did they miss the cut.
In fact, they even won the IPL in 2016 under David Warner. Even in the last couple of seasons, SRH made it to the top four when very few expected them to. Hence, you can never count SRH out in any season and this time, they’ve once again put together a good strong side. They start their 2020 campaign against Mumbai Indians (MI) on the 1st of April in Hyderabad.
There are some strong players in their ranks and the Sunrisers will be banking on them to get them through. But here are five SRH players to watch out for in the upcoming season.
There’s absolutely no doubt that David Warner will be the biggest player to watch out for as far as the Sunrisers team is concerned. He’s defined them for quite a few years now. It’s been like a one-man army, especially with the bat for them and it’s Warner leading the charge everywhere.
Warner has dominated the IPL for the last five-six years. In fact, since 2014, there’s been no other player who has scored more runs than him in the IPL. He’s won the Orange Cap thrice in this time span. The other two times he didn’t, he had staggering seasons with one of them being an 848-run season where Virat Kohli the limelight with his 973 runs.
The Australian opener is back as SRH captain as well this year. Warner has been magnificent for SRH and he’s been their leader with the bat, irrespective of him being a captain or not. He’s been in fine form in the recent past and he looks set for another blockbuster season.
2019 was Jonny Bairstow’s debut season in the IPL. There was a lot of talk around how he’d go with David Warner at the top of the order. However, they were absolutely brilliant as a pair and individually as well. While Warner continued from where he had left off in 2017, Bairstow kicked off his IPL career in style.
The England top-order batsman smashed 445 runs at an average of 55.62 and a strike-rate of 157.24. If Warner was consistent and batted long, it was Bairstow who attacked and gave Warner that space early on. It was the success of these two that helped the Sunrisers in 2019.
It’ll be interesting to see how Bairstow goes about things in his second season with teams making big strategies for him. But in white-ball cricket, he’s been brilliant and once again, he’ll be a big player to watch out for.
Manish Pandey had an iffy 2018 season and the 2019 one wasn’t going great as well. Out of his first six games, he batted in five and couldn’t go past the 20-run mark. But it was Kane Williamson’s absence in one game that allowed him to bat and three and that was the change Pandey needed.
Once the Karnataka cricketer started batted at the one-drop slot for the Sunrisers, he started getting the big scores. He started producing consistent scores and became a glue at No. 3. In fact, skipper Kane Williamson even batted at No. 4 to accommodate Pandey at 3.
He finished the 2019 season with 344 runs and averaged 43.00 in the last season. Moreover, he’s been in good touch as well and has done well in international cricket in the limited opportunities he’s had.
It’s been a tough couple of years for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He’s struggled with quite a few injuries and it’s had an impact on his performances in the IPL as well. After back to back Purple Cap winning seasons, the Meerut-born pacer seems to have tapered off a touch and that’s largely because of his fitness and injury woes. Even this year, he’s coming into the IPL on the back of recovering from a groin injury.
The India-South Africa series was supposed to be his comeback but with that abandoned, his comeback trail will start with the IPL. Bhuvneshwar is a skilful bowler and is very smart with the way he uses his variations. He will be a key bowler for the Sunrisers once again. With SRH likely to have three overseas players in the top seven and Rashid Khan the other overseas player, Bhuvneshwar will spearhead the all-Indian pace attack.
You might be surprised to see a name like Virat Singh in this list. However, the left-handed Jharkhand batsman could play a vital role in the middle order. It is no secret that the Sunrisers are a top-heavy side. Most of their firepower lies in their top order. But once you get past that, they’ve tended to crumble.
But Singh could add that extra dimension in the middle order. He’s shown it in the Indian domestic season of 2019-20. He scored 343 runs at a strike-rate of 142.32 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament while he made 335 runs at an average of 83.75 and a strike-rate of 100.60 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Thus, he could be a great addition and could play a pivotal role in the middle order.