Walking out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) mini-auction in February, Sunrisers Hyderabad had bought just three players. While it doesn't make for headlines, what it did show was the belief the management has in the squad going into season 14 of the league.
And the team's performance in the 2020 edition bears testimony to the fact that the team has players who thrive under pressure and love rising to challenges. Having lost bowling spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first half of the cash-rich league, David Warner's boys won five out of their last six games to qualify for the playoffs. A loss to Delhi Capitals saw them finish third on the table.
Over the years, SRH has depended heavily on skipper David Warner and he has consistently delivered. With 548 runs in the 13th edition, the captain once again led the Hyderabad unit's charge. And it will be a delight for the SRH team management that opening partner Jonny Bairstow has also been in tremendous form.
Jason Holder took the tournament by storm in UAE, but it will be interesting to see if he makes the playing XI going into the first few games. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson and Afghstan star spinner Rashid Khan are two foreign players who will definitely be favourites to start.
Having reached the play-off stages in every edition of the IPL since 2016, SRH definitely has the firepower to give the big boys a run for their money, even though they might not have the most glamorous of players in the line-up. However, the lack of a finisher is an area that bothered the unit in the last few years and that has seen them rope in Kedhar Jadhav. While he did have a poor season with Chennai Super Kings in UAE, he has the experience to make it count.
The trio of Msh Pandey, Vijay Shankar and Kedar could form the perfect middle-order for SRH.
When it comes to the bowling department, Warner has one of the best line-ups at his disposal. While Bhuvneshwar is back and showed his prowess in the recently concluded series against England, T Natarajan stole the show in the last edition and was rewarded with a national call-up. Not to forget Sandeep Sharma's swing bowling and Rashid's spin. Warner also has Afghstan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman in the squad now, but having in the playing XI could mean dropping one of the senior overseas batsman.
SRH has also signed up England batsman Jason Roy as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh and the management is sure to have a headache of picking the perfect combination of top six batsmen.
SRH squad: David Warner (c), Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Msh 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.
( With inputs from ANI )
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