SRH won their first and only IPL title in 2016 with David Warner as captain. The Australian was, however, removed from his post in 2018 due to his ball-tampering ban and replaced by New Zealand’s Kane Williamson. But for IPL 2020, SRH have gone back to Warner as skipper in their quest for a second title.
The men in orange have some of the finest white-ball cricketers in their ranks but at the start of each season, they are hardly the most hyped team. This, perhaps, works best for them as they quietly go about their business and remain one of the most consistent outfits in the IPL.
They have also brought in Trevor Bayliss, the man who guided England to the ODI World Cup title last year, as head coach. The experience brought in by the Australian could prove to be the missing piece of the puzzle for SRH as they look to reclaim the trophy.
SRH's record over the years in IPL
|Season||League stage finish||Playoff result|
|IPL 2013||4th out of 9|
|IPL 2017||3rd||Lost in the eliminator|
|IPL 2018||1st||Lost in the final|
|IPL 2019||4th||Lost in the eliminator|
The Sunrisers didn’t do anything dramatic in the IPL auctions last December. With their top order batsmen and bowling department being powerful, the squad focussed on bringing in reinforcements for the middle order.
In Priyam Garg, Virat Singh and Abdul Samad, SRH have three bright young Indian prospects, and with Fabian Allen and Mitchell Marsh, they have two overseas options for the lower order.
SRH's squad for IPL 2020
|Kane Williamson||Rashid Khan||Vijay Shankar||Jonny Bairstow|
|David Warner||Bhuvneshwar Kumar||Mohammad Nabi||Wriddhiman Saha|
|Manish Pandey||Khaleel Ahmed||Abhishek Sharma||Shreevats Goswami|
|Priyam Garg||Sandeep Sharma||Mitchell Marsh|
|Virat Singh||Siddarth Kaul||Fabian Allen|
|Billy Stanlake||Sandeep Bavanaka|
|T Natarajan||Sanjay Yadav|
|Shahbaz Nadeem||Abdul Samad|
Players in action post lockdown
Since the lockdown began, Warner, Marsh, Bairstow, Rashid and Nabi are the ones from the SRH squad who have played competitive cricket.
Warner competed in two T20 Internationals and three ODIs against England and scored a total of 84 runs. He looked fluent as he scored a 58 in the first of those five games (a T20I) but just couldn’t get going thereafter.
Marsh didn’t make a big impact with the ball in England but played two match-winnings knocks in the limited-overs series. His 33 not-out (T20I) and 73 (ODI) will stand him in good stead heading into the IPL, where he could be expected to play a crucial role for SRH in the lower middle order.
Bairstow, meanwhile played plenty of matches during England’s recently-concluded home season. The wicketkeeper-batsman featured in six T20Is and three ODIs. England may have lost the final ODI to Australia but Bairstow will take confidence from the superlative century he scored in it. The right-hander showcased some exquisite strokeplay and seemed to be at his best after struggling for fluency rest of the summer.
Finally, there is the spin duo from Afghanistan. Rashid played 10 games for Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League and picked a total of 11 wickets. The leg-spinner was dangerous as usual even if a little expensive and returned with an economy-rate of 6.8. Nabi, on the other hand, got 12 wickets in as many games for St Lucia Zouks. The off-spinner was, perhaps, even more impressive than Rashid as he bowled with an ER of 5.1. In Zouks’ run to the final, Nabi played a stellar run as the underdogs punched above their weight.
In an unfortunate development for Patriots (as well as SRH in a way), Allen missed his flight and ended up missing the CPL season, when a lot was expected from him.
The two biggest strengths of SRH have to be their top order and bowling department. Warner and Bairstow’s opening combination was a revelation in IPL 2019. The left-hand-right-hand combination can be devastating and can take the game away from oppositions in a hurry.
With the calmness of Williamson to follow, SRH have a truly formidable top order. Now, all they need is Manish Pandey to strike form at No 4. The right-hander failed to show consistency last season but improved as the tournament went on and his role is crucial considering there isn’t any big name to follow after him.
In Bhuvneshwar Kumar, SRH have one of the most skillful Indian white-ball bowlers. The 30-year-old pacer hasn’t played a professional game since a T20I against West Indies in December 2019, but the time he got to work on his fitness would have helped him regain his confidence. He will, however, need support from the likes of Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi and Siddarth Kaul.
However, the true strength of SRH’s bowling department lies with their spinners. Rashid, arguably the most dangerous T20I spinner in the world, along with Nabi, Shahbaz Nadeem and Fabian Allen could be a handful for any opposition. If the pitches in the UAE get increasingly spinner-friendly as the tournament progresses, the Sunrisers will be tempted to play Nabi consistently instead of one of the top three overseas batsmen.
The middle order – it is inarguably Sunrisers Hyderabad’s biggest weakness. The overdependence on Warner and Bairstow proved to be costly for them last season and they will be wary of it this time around.
Which is why the Indian players they have invested in will need to step up. Pandey has proven what he is capable of while playing for India and he would want to show the kind of form he did in the last domestic season.
Vijay Shankar, too, is an important player and SRH will count on him to contribute later in the innings. The likes of Priyam Garg and Virat Singh are only just starting out in their careers but a lot could be expected of them as well.
Their lack of options in the middle order makes it easy to understand why SRH would crumble in tight situations. If they can find a consistent performer in that department, it could drastically change the complexion of their side. Watch out for Allen, should he get a chance to feature in a few games.
Most Valuable Player
In Warner, Bairstow, Williamson and Bhuvneshwar, SRH have four true match-winners in their squad, but it has to be Rashid who is their trump card.
The 21-year-old has been a key player for the Orange Army ever since he made his IPL debut for them in 2017. He has played a total of 46 matches for them and picked up 55 wickets with a brilliant economy-rate of 6.55. He was in good form in IPL 2019 too, bagging 17 wickets in 15 games.
Rashid’s quick-arm action and subtle variations have troubled the best in the world and SRH will be hoping he can make the most of the UAE pitches to power their campaign. He has at times proven predictable and expensive in the recent past though, and it would be something to watch out for.
Potential breakout star
He is the fourth cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to earn an IPL contract and at 18, Abdul Samad is definitely one to watch out for heading into the upcoming season.
The right-handed batsman made his first-class, List A and T20 debuts for his state side in 2019 and proved to be a consistent performer. What stands out about the youngster is his ability to hit big, something SRH were in search for when they decided to pay Rs 20 lakh for his services.
Samad scored 592 runs in the last Ranji Trophy campaign, which included three centuries, two fifties and 36 sixes (the most by any batsman in the season), according to ESPNCricinfo. These performances caught the attention of SRH mentor VVS Laxman and he was roped in by the 2016 IPL champions.
The Sunrisers don’t have a big name for the finisher’s role and if young Samad manages to provide fireworks lower down the order, we could have one of the most exciting stories of the season.
SRH fixtures for IPL 2020
|SRH vs RCB||21 Sep, Mon (1930)||Dubai|
|KKR vs SRH||26 Sep, Sat (1930)||Abu Dhabi|
|DC vs SRH||29 Sep, Tue (1930)||Abu Dhabi|
|CSK vs SRH||2 Oct, Fri (1930)||Dubai|
|MI vs SRH||4 Oct, Sun (1530)||Sharjah|
|SRH vs KXIP||8 Oct, Thu (1930)||Dubai|
|SRH vs RR||11 Oct, Sun (1530)||Dubai|
|SRH vs CSK||13 Oct, Tue (1930)||Dubai|
|SRH vs KKR||18 Oct, Sun (1530)||Abu Dhabi|
|RR vs SRH||22 Oct, Thu (1930)||Dubai|
|KXIP vs SRH||24 Oct, Sat (1930)||Dubai|
|SRH vs DC||27 Oct, Tue (1930)||Dubai|
|RCB vs SRH||31 Oct, Sat (1930)||Sharjah|
|SRH vs MI||3 Nov, Tue (1930)||Sharjah|
Will SRH remain consistent as ever? Can Warner lead them to the IPL 2020 title? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to us @thefield_in.