To the delight of all cricket fans across the globe, the second phase of the IPL 2021 has begun and we have witnessed some thrilling encounters so far. One of the major talking points of this IPL has been the below par performance of the Sun Risers Hyderabad (SRH).
SRH have been one of the most consistent sides in their IPL history, having qualified for the playoffs in six out of eight seasons prior to this year. Their journey in IPL 2021 has been a forgettable one for them as they have failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time after 2015.
What are the reasons behind this kind of performance? What is it they are not learning? Let’s analyze to find the answer.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad have lost 6 out of 9 games while chasing. Their average score excluding extras in the eleven games they have played so far is just around 139, which is certainly not an ideal one in t20s. This signifies that batting has been their major issue in the IPL 2021.
Their batting has been heavily reliant on David Warner and their top order over the years. Statistically, Warner scored 30 percent of the team’s runs (excluding extras) cumulatively in the four seasons he played between 2016 and 2020. He was their best batsman in all those four years. The failure of their middle order was getting blurred by the brilliance of the dynamic Australian batsman. They didn’t try to develop their middle order in that period and now, as Warner is not at his best and Bairstow is unavailable, their middle order is getting exposed time and again.
This issue seems deep-rooted if we look at their auction strategy prior to IPL 2021. They had 10cr rupees in the purse. They bought another overseas spinner in Mujeeb for 1.5crs whereas they already had two in Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi. They virtually had just one overseas slot left in their eleven as Warner/Bairstow, Williamson and Rashid were certain starters. They might have done better by going for one of the unsold overseas batters like Glenn Philips or Rovman Powell to boost their middle order. Instead, they spent 2crs on an injury-prone Kedar Jadhav despite his horrible returns in the IPL since 2018. They surely could have avoided these buys and gone for better players in the mini auction.
Now, if we look at their squad, they have many young and talented domestic batters like Priyam Garg, Virat Singh and Abhishek Sharma etc., but they persisted with guys like Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav in most of the games of this season despite their abysmal returns. This means they trusted and backed wrong players, which is a major reason for their failure in IPL 2021. Instead, they should have given the exposure to these young players and built the team around them.
If we consider the Sunrisers Hyderabad’ bowling, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is having his worst season this year as he has picked just five wickets in nine games at an unimpressive economy of 8.53. But this is not the only year we have witnessed Bhuvi struggling with the ball. His cumulative bowling average and SR from IPL 2018 to 2020 are 36.56 and 28.64 respectively, which shows that he hasn’t been at his best since IPL 2017. But, do SRH have his backup? The answer in a big ‘no’. In the absence of Natarajan, they are bound to continue with their second-string pacemen in Khaleel and Siddharth Kaul. Their bowling seems completely one-dimensional as they don’t have a bowler who can trouble the batters with raw pace.
What are the solutions to their problem?
The Sunrisers Hyderabad should come with a clearer and more aggressive mindset to the mega auction 2022 and start from scratch. They have to change their outlook towards t20 cricket. The management needs to realize that they need the firepower throughout the lineup, not just at the top. Further, they need to introduce the variety into their pace department and stop over-relying on slow ball bowlers at the death.