Sunrisers Hyderabad will be playing their second season of IPL this year and if they can play like last year, this team can match anybody.
During their debut season (2013) itself they reached the knockout stages but were defeated by the Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator.
This team has the most explosive opening pair in the form of Australian duo Aaron Finch and David Warner followed by Shikhar Dhawan.
The middle order, though, looks quite thin and Sunrisers will miss a genuine middle-order batsman. In this scenario the team will expect one out of the top three to bat until at least 15 overs and then a power hitter like Darren Sammy can take on the bowlers during death the overs. Irfan Pathan will play the role of a bowling all-rounder and his ability of clearing the ropes will be an added advantage.
The bowling line-up looks quite settled and has a good mix of pace and spin. The world’s number one bowler Dale Steyn will lead the attack and will more often than not provide the initial breakthrough for the team.
He will open the bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar whose control over the line and length in the recently concluded World T20 was very impressive. Ishant Sharma can play the role of third seamer if required.
Sunrisers should give more responsibility to Irfan Pathan on the bowling front as he is a genuine match-winner and Sammy can chip in with couple of overs when needed.
The spin department will be led by Amit Mishra who also had a very good World T20 and will be very confident. Karan Sharma or Parvez Rasool will play the role of a second spinner.
In the recently concluded auction they made a very interesting choice of buying Zimbabwe’s wicket-keeper-batsman Brendan Taylor and it has to be seen where he bats if he gets a chance in playing XI.
The biggest strength of Sunrisers Hyderabad is probably their strong bench strength in the bowling department and in a tournament like the IPL which is played over a period of more than six weeks, having good backups will come very handy. Players like Jason Holder and Moises Henriques can play in place of Steyn and Sammy if either or both of them gets injured; they may not be as effective as Steyn or Sammy but are definitely worthy replacements which many teams in the IPL do not have.
This is the team to watch out for in this year’s IPL who might spring some surprises and hence are my dark horse in this year’s IPL.
© Cricket World 2014