Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) is one of the most consistent sides in the Indian Premier League (IPL). They are the only team that has qualified for the playoffs every time in the past five seasons. Since SRH won the coveted trophy back in 2016, they have constantly been performing and finishing as the top four sides in the standings.
The David Warner-led side enjoyed a fruitful outing in the previous edition of the cash-rich league in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). SRH ended IPL 2020 as the third team and couldn’t make it to the finals.
For the upcoming season, which begins on April 9, the ‘Orange Army’ shall be eying their second IPL title. SRH will start their IPL 2021 journey on April 11 against Kolkata Knight Riders at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
During the IPL 2021 auction, Sunrisers bought only three players. SRH roped in former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) player Kedar Jadhav and uncapped Jagadeesha Suchith to strengthen their middle-order. They also included Afghanistan star Mujeeb Ur Rahman as a specialist spinner.
Let’s have a look at the ideal playing XI for SRH in IPL 2020:
Openers: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow
The opening slot would again be fulfilled by the popular choice of skipper David Warner and attacking batsman Jonny Bairstow. Bairstow is currently in a red-hot form, and SRH would look to utilise him properly in IPL 2021.
In the recently-concluded white-ball series against India, the English batsman had exhibited high-class batting. In the last season of the lucrative league, Bairstow had amassed 345 runs from 11 games with three half-centuries.
On the other hand, Warner is one of the most consistent run-maker in IPL history. Since 2015, there hasn’t been a single season (barring 2018, which he did not play) where the ‘pocket dynamite’ had scored less than 500 runs. Last year, Warner accumulated 548 runs from 16 matches with the help of four fifties.
Middle-order: Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey
Just like Warner, Kane Williamson is also a huge servant of the Sunrisers franchise. The Kiwi star played 12 matches last year and scored 317 runs, smashing three half-tons as well. Williamson has expertise in holding one end and keep the scoreboard running. The biggest advantage of having Williamson in the side is that he often assists Warner in captaincy, which eventually helps Sunrisers.
Another crucial aspect in SRH’s middle-order is Karnataka batsman Manish Pandey. The flamboyant right-handed batsman had a tremendous season with the bat in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pandey finished IPL 2020 as the second-highest run-getter for his franchise. He managed to score 425 runs from 16 matches with three fifties to his name.
All-rounders: Jagadeesha Suchith, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan
The lower middle-order, where often all-rounders make their impact visible, has always been an area of concern for Sunrisers. In the upcoming season, SRH would surely look to get rid of this problem. However, they still don’t have a power-hitter in the lower-order. But with the likes of Rashid Khan, Abdul Samad, somehow SRH can ignore this stumbling block.
Rashid, who makes the batsmen dance to his tunes in bowling, has shown in the recent past that he can score quick runs if he gets the opportunity. Last season, the Afghanistan talent was the second-highest wicket-taker (20) amongst spinners. Apart from Rashid, SRH have Jason Holder for this spot as well, but with the inclusion of Williamson, Warner and Bairstow, alongside Rashid closes the door of adding another overseas player in the playing XI.
Samad showed a lot of promise in IPL 2020, and he will get another opportunity to prove his worth. Last year, Samad scored 111 runs from 12 games at an impressive strike-rate of 170.76. SRH have roped in Jagadeesha Suchith in the squad, and he can be a good option to play as an all-rounder in the team.
Bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma
The bowling department has always been the main highlight of Sunrisers. They are known for defending low targets thanks to the wonderful combination of bowling they possess in the lucrative league.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who only played four games in the last season due to injury, is completely fit and has shown top-class performance in the white-ball fixtures against England recently. Bhuvi will once again lead the bowling unit with T Natarajan, Siddharth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma as other bowlers.
Siddharth only played one game in IPL 2020 but came back strongly in the domestic season this year. In the Syed Mushtaq T20 competition, the right-armer finished as the fourth leading wicket-taker (14). He followed the momentum in Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021 by taking 14 wickets.
Sandeep had a good outing in IPL 2020, taking 14 wickets from 13 games. Similarly, Natarajan also finished IPL 2020 on a high note. He bagged 16 scalps and ended up as the second-highest wicket-taker for his side.
Here is Sunrisers’ ideal playing XI:
- David Warner – Matches: 142; Runs: 5254; Strike-rate: 141.54; 100’s: 4; 50’s: 48
- Jonny Bairstow – Matches: 21; Runs: 790; Strike-rate: 142.34; 100’s:1; 50’s: 5
- Kane Williamson – Matches: 53; Runs: 1619; Strike-rate: 134.80; 50’s: 15
- Manish Pandey – Matches: 146; Runs: 3868; Strike-rate: 121.66; 100’s: 1; 50’s: 18
- Abdul Samad – Matches: 12; Runs: 111; Strike-rate: 170.76; 50’s: 0; Wickets: 1; Economy: 13.71
- Jagadeesha Suchith – Matches: 15; Runs: 54; Strike-rate: 114.00; Wickets: 12; Economy: 8.80
- Rashid Khan – Matches: 62; Runs: 139; Strike-rate: 149.46; Wickets: 75; Best: 3/7; Economy: 6.24
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar – Matches: 121; Wickets: 136; Best: 5/19; Economy: 7.23
- T Natarajan – Matches: 22; Wickets: 18; Best: 2/24; Economy: 8.19
- Siddharth Kaul – Matches: 46; Wickets: 51; Best: 4/29; Economy: 8.65
- Sandeep Sharma – Matches: 92; Wickets: 109; Best: 4/20; Economy: 7.71