Sunrisers Hyderabad IPL Preview 2021: Can Rashid Khan spin them to glory?

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The Sunrisers came from way back in the pack last season to squeak into the playoffs and end up in 3rd after losing to Delhi Capitals in the Qualifier 2 match. The winners in 2016 are regular playoff contenders, having made the top four in each of the last five editions.

They have a strong core which they have kept together, largely bypassing the 2021 mini-auction, other than to add the quality spin of Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, the middle-order batting of Kedhar Jadhav and the all-round talents of J Suckith. Australian opener David Warner continues to lead them into the 2021 event and has opted to back their existing talent to build on last year’s impressive second half of the season.

Their only major concern will be whether Warner is fully fit. He sustained a groin injury in later 2019 and admitted he had rushed back too quickly for the Test series against India. If he has fully recovered he is likely to be one of the most successful batsmen in the tournament and could lead his team to plenty of success.

PLAYING SQUAD

David Warner (capt), Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Mitchell Marsh, Jason Holder, Abdul Samad, Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman and Jagadeesha Suchith.

COACHING SETUP

David Warner (captain), Trevor Bayliss (head coach), Brad Haddin (asst coach), Muttiah Muralitharan (bowling mentor), VVS Laxman (batting coach), Biju George (fielding coach).

AUCTION ACTIVITY 2021

INS: Kedar Jadhav (RS 2.00 crore), Mujeeb-ur-Raham (RS 1.50 crore), Jagadeesha Suchith (Rs 30 lakh).

OUTS: Billy Stanlake, Fabian Allen, Sanjay Yadav, Billy Sandeep, Yarra Prithvi Raj (all released).

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD’ CHANCES in 2021

Sunrisers Hyderabad was the least active side in the recent auction, opting to release only five players and purchasing only three. The David Warner captained side opted to purchase Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, which provides them with a quality Afghan spin duo alongside Rashid Khan.

All franchises can only field four overseas players in their playing XIs, but for some reason, this always seems to trouble SRH more than any other side. With Warner always going to play, Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson premier batting options and Rashid Khan the best white-ball spinner in the world, it means that Mujeeb Mohammad Nabi and Jason Holder are often likely to be side-lined, leaving genuine quality in the dugout.

KEY PLAYERS

DAVID WARNER made 548 runs in the last IPL but wasn’t at his dominant best, given his previous high standards in the competitions. The 34-year-old left-handed opener has won the Orange Cap for scoring the most runs in a season on a record three occasions (2015, 2017 and 2019) and he is undoubtedly in the hunt once again. When Warner didn’t fire in the early part of 2020, SRJ struggled. When he found some form in the latter part of the competition they started winning games. He is pivotal to their success, both as a captain and a batsman. He is also very tough to back against.

RASHID KHAN is the best white-ball spinner in the world. The Afghanistan leg-spinner is as crucial to SRH’s success as Warner. He can bamboozle batsmen with his guile, is ridiculously economical and, despite many teams attempting to sit on him and see his four overs off, he always takes wickets. The 22-year-old is a prime target for any T20 franchise around the world and despite his tender years has gleaned plenty of experience from over 250 T20 matches under his belt. He took 20 wickets at an economy rate of only 5.37 last season and also packs a punch with his quirky lower-order hitting with the bat. A total star.

Is Rashid Kahn set to show he's the worlds best T20 bowler gain.T NATARAJAN took 16 wickets at a shade over 8 runs per over last season and was particularly impressive with his yorkers in the death overs. Th3 29-year-old’s form saw him called up to the India tour of Australia and he ended up being one of the stars of his country’s incredible Test series win. If the left-arm paceman can back all that up this season, SRH has a serious bowler on their hands.

YOUNGSTER TO WATCH: PRIYAM GARG

Garg is a former India Under-19 captain and at 20-years-old is set to blossom as a middle-order batsman. He played 14 matches last season and managed only 117 runs but will be a much better player with a season under his belt. He hit an unbeaten match-winning 51 against CSK in only 26 balls early in the tournament but was unable to back that up with more pyrotechnics. He could easily provide a few more matches influencing knocks this season.

WHERE WILL SUNRISERS HYDERABAD FINISH?

They are contenders for the title for sure and are always in the playoffs. They have the capacity to push Mumbai and the other leading lights close.

Prediction: 3rd

James Buttler is a cricket journalist, broadcaster and host of the Cricket Badger Podcast. You can tune into the IPL Daily editions here: https://podfollow.com/cricket-badger-podcast

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