Mohali: Sunrisers Hyderabad weren’t expected to be at the Champions League Twenty20 2013 when they commenced their Indian Premier League season. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks at their line-up, Shikhar Dhawan’s new role and the powerpacked bowling attack.
Sunrisers Hyderabad were the surprise package of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013. Mainly banking on the strength of their bowling, they shot ahead of more complete line-ups and booked their berth for the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013. As they gear up for the qualifying stages, they are led by a new man — Shikhar Dhawan — who has grown as a cricketer in recent times and is the torchbearer for Hyderabad. Dhawan not only has to lead the team, but would also have to take more responsibility as a batsman in a side that has struggled to put runs on the board.
Although Kumar Sangakkara sat out for the team’s cause for quite a while during the IPL 2013, his presence would have been crucial during this tournament. He may not have been in good touch then, but he brings quality to the table and could have added much-needed punch to the batting. Also, the change in captaincy — from Cameron White to Dhawan — indicates that Hyderabad are looking for more options. Since they are only permitted four foreigners in the eleven, the appointment of Dhawan gives them more flexibility.
As a result, it seems there could be a toss-up between Jean-Paul Duminy and White for the spot in the middle order. It would be a crucial one as they need someone to support Dhawan and not leave it to the lower order to do the damage. On many occasions, the likes of Darren Sammy and Thisara Perera rescued them with some late hitting, but it isn’t going to work every time. They have a Parthiv Patel at the top, who needs to show more consistency in providing those quick starts.
But, how much would captaincy affect Dhawan? He has made a name as a flamboyant stroke-maker who is absolutely fearless. There is always a fear that the added responsibility may hamper an in-form batsman’s game. It is in such situations that a player’s character and temperament is put to test. Dhawan has shown that he is unfazed by pressure while batting and that same approach should hold him in good stead ahead of the CLT20 2013. Hyderabad are pinning their batting hopes on this one man as he is their most reliable.
Hyderabad’s formidable bowling attack is a complete pack with variety. Dale Steyn is arguably the best fast-bowler in recent times and combines the pivotal ingredients to become a lethal paceman. His four overs are like gold-dust and have to be used according to the situation. If the pitch is more helpful, there may be a case for them to bowl him out upfront. In other situations, he may have to be saved for later.
Steyn has valuable support in Ishant Sharma, Perera and Sammy. While Ishant and Perera will bowl on the quicker side and would be wicket-takers, Sammy’s seemingly innocuous deliveries can also trouble the batsmen — particularly on slow wickets. Then there is Amit Mishra, who has been in great form this year and would be itching to strengthen his limited-overs credentials. It is quite obvious that the bowling has most of the work to do and if they fail, it could be tough for Hyderabad.
Hyderabad’s first battle would be against their former skipper — Sangakkara — as they take on the Kandurata Maroons. Due to all the drama surrounding his participation, Sangakkara would be fired up for this contest and there is no better way to silence the Doubting Thomases than by scoring runs.