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Defending the Crown: A Sunrisers Hyderabad Post-Auction & Pre-Season Review

On April 5th 2017, IPL will begin its 10th edition, meaning that it’s time to begin talking about how the teams line up. This article, as well as the 7 following it, will discuss auction performances, as well as key players and lineups for each team.

SRH were largely dependent on David Warner for their runs. Image credits: espncricinfo.com

The Sunrisers Hyderabad put up a dominating show to register their maiden IPL victory. Building on the star performances of the accurate Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the devastating David Warner and, of course, the peerless Mustafizur Rahman, SRH managed to end a streak of mediocre performances to finally seize the cup.

Approaching 2017, however, it is impossible to overlook certain issues that appeared in their lineup during the 2016 campaign. First and foremost was the middle order — While Warner and Shikhar Dhawan both had seasons to remember, none of the other SRH batsmen managed to put together substantial runs. Yuvraj Singh had his moments, but the rest of SRH’s middle order could neither score consistently nor at a quick rate. The two main culprits of this were Deepak Hooda (144 runs from 17 games; SR 119.00 & Avg 10.28) and Naman Ojha (136 runs from 17 games; SR 98.55 & Avg 13.60). Even overseas recruits Eoin Morgan (123 from 7 games @ 117.14) and Kane Williamson (124 from 6 games @ 101.63) flattered to deceive. This meant that for the most part, SRH were largely dependent on their openers for the bulk of their runs, and were easily bogged down if their openers (particularly Warner) failed.

Hence, they entered the 2017 Auction with the main goal of picking up someone who could solidify that middle order. They exited the auction with:

SRH Auction Results - Property of IPLgeek.com.

 

As always, SRH exited with a pretty decent set of players for a relatively small sum of money. They have been good auction “players” since their first auction in 2013, and have continued that trend here. Their most expensive player was the young 19-year old Afghani leg spinner Rashid Khan.

Rashid and Mohammed Nabi – the first Afghani players to be offered IPL contracts – were obviously the two talking points on SRH’s purchase list, but on the whole it was quite interesting to see SRH did not actually spend a whole lot on middle-order batsmen, as simple logic would suggest to be their logical course of action. For the most part, they were looking for all-rounders and bowlers. Despite the fact that Naman Ojha will need to step up his game given that Ekalavya Dwivedi will be breathing down his neck, this indicates that on the whole, they are willing to trust a largely similar middle order to last year to make it count this time around, but are looking to solidify their bowling options, and bring in the extra all-rounder wherever possible. This is also something that was indicated by the retainment of Kane Williamson ahead of the auction, despite a poor season.

A possible reason for this style of purchasing could be that they want to maintain the two overseas all-rounder dynamic that was present in their victorious final squad, but at the same time provide more stable all-round options than Moises Henriques and Ben Cutting. Henriques was an integral cog to SRH’s bowling unit, but floundered with the bat. Cutting offered some decent all-round shows in the 4 games he played – including a scintillating all-round show in the Final – but his low-order smashing does not quite fit within the niche of solidity that SRH need to help anchor their middle order. A more solid all-rounder like Ben Stokes (for whom they were willing to spend up to ₹14 crore), therefore, could have helped remedy that while still maintaining that two-allrounder dynamic. Mohammed Nabi will play a critical role here, as he can not only serve as a powerful batsman, but also be a frontline spinner, something that SRH critically lacked last season.

Another main point they might have wished to address would be Mustafizur Rahman’s situation. Although it feels strange to doubt the form of a player who was next to invincible just last season, SRH did the right thing by bringing in backups for him. As KXIP learned the hard way in 2015 with Glenn Maxwell, not having backups for even your best players can result in disaster. This also makes sense given that Mustafizur played almost no cricket between the 2016 Final and December of that year, due to injury. His return to cricket has not quite been marked by extraordinary success, and hence SRH would have every reason to be cautious about his form come April. On paper Chris Jordan is a play-for-play replacement — he is a death over specialist, often saved for the last few overs of the innings, very similar to the way Warner used Mustafizur during the 2016 season. However, this is also where Rashid Khan could make his break into the side. While SRH rode largely on a solid fast-bowling squadron in 2016, Rashid’s recent performances – including a 5 wicket haul in 10 balls – for Afghanistan make him very hard to ignore.

All in all, SRH had little to fix ahead of the 2017 season, and even if they didn’t address every concern, they opened up some very interesting avenues, and have put together a very solid team for 2017. Now, check out my dynamic for their playing XI:

SRH Playing Dynamic - Image Property of IPLgeek.com

Note: This dynamic represents possible scenarios of my own deduction, and have no direct affiliation with the actual plans of the SRH team management.

Mohammed Nabi will play one of the largest roles for SRH this season; doubling up as a frontline spinner and a middle-order power hitter, Nabi will allow SRH to stick to their very successful fast-bowling lineup from 2016 while still being able to take advantage of any spin on offer. However, that is not to neglect the presence of Pravin Tambe, who enters the side as a full-time spinner, something SRH lacked last year. While SRH have had the most success with their pace attack, Tambe’s presence allows them to have a second frontline spin option with Nabi, and one of higher quality than Bipul Sharma.

Rashid Khan could also play a massive role in SRH’s defense of their title, but his entry into the XI will largely be dependent on whether or not SRH want to play Mustafizur. Given their lack of quality Indian batting, it is unlikely that they will go for two overseas bowlers, which means that it will either be one or the other. Previous IPL stats obviously favor the Fizz, but as mentioned above, he has been sidelined with injury for a long time, and has had very little playing time between the 2016 IPL and now. Rashid, on the other hand, has been making headlines with his star shows against Ireland. Hence, it will be a very interesting contest to see which of the two makes it into the final XI.

The use of Kane Williamson will also be something to look out for. Henriques had a poor run with the bat in 2016, and the number three spot was an itch on their nose for the whole of the season. Although Williamson did little to turn heads himself, the fact that SRH have chosen to retain him demonstrates that they have faith in him, faith that his English colleague Eoin Morgan did not receive. If Williamson fires, he could solve pretty much all of SRH’s middle order woes in a jiffy, while also offering the option of playing as an opener with David Warner, should Shikhar Dhawan’s form tail.

Mohammed Siraj will also be expected to make ripples for SRH this season. While Barinder Sran holds the advantage of being a capped bowler, he has had little playing time since spearheading India’s side that toured Zimbabwe in June of last year. While they have little reason to tinker with their winning combination, Siraj could provide an alternative to Sran’s left-arm pace (which SRH already have an abundance of in Mustafizur and Ashish Nehra), which would bring a tad more variety to David Warner’s bowling options.

The Sunrisers’ first game will be the tournament opener on April 5th, as they take on fellow finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore at home, in the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

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Resilient: An International Tale

Some of the various atrocities in the world today Source: Facebook.

                Some of the various atrocities in the world today. Source: Facebook. 

Paris: Terrorist attacks. Japan: Earthquakes. Baghdad: Suicide bombings. These are just a few of the major calamities that have happened over the last two days. Discounting the global scale, one only needs to look at a newspaper to see a plethora of atrocities that make even the holocaust look humane. This is not something new to our world. We have seen these kinds of events before, and we will see them in the future. There’s no escaping it.

While sifting through all the tabs on my browser, I inevitably stumbled upon the Australia vs. New Zealand test match. While comparatively insignificant, the Kiwis were going through a tragedy of their own. Led by the belligerent David Warner, Australia had racked up a massive 559/9 in less than 2 days, something that essentially wins half the game for you. Add Mitchell Starc to the equation, and I thought the Kiwis were done and dusted, and moved on. Yet, when I checked the scorecard recently, the men in black had put up 510/6, a feat that nearly mirrored the one the home side had put up. As I saw this impressive display of batting, something hit me. Resilience. That was the answer. Crises occur all the time. In 2001, it was America, in 2008 it was India, yesterday it was France, and tomorrow it will be someplace else – we cannot stop that. I now speak to all the survivors of atrocities – be it those that’ve made headlines on CNN or made 5th page on the local newspaper – be resilient. Keep your head up, and know that people are praying for you, in different languages, to different Gods, in different places, but for the same purpose. Keep your head up, even if it seems that things can’t get any worse, as the path is still not at it’s end. Keep your head up.

Now, I am aware that I am probably asking you for the impossible. I realize that I am probably asking you to come back from the dead, or to lift a mountain with one hand. However, know this: life doesn’t wait. Life doesn’t care how hard you fall. If New Zealand had succumbed to Mitchell Starc – who was hitting 160 kilometers per hour – and the sheer magnitude of the Australian score, would they have won a “pity point”? No! The series would have been 0-2, and that’s it. Now I’m not trying to be an insensitive person, but I beseech you, fight. While you have arms, pick up your sword, and fight for all it’s worth. Be resilient, like the New Zealanders, and like hundreds of thousands of others impacted by these crises across the years.  Just fight. I cannot guarantee that you will win, but you can sure as hell try. If you can’t be a victor, you’ll be a martyr. So stand up, and fight. Stand up, and be resilient.

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Sunrisers Hyderabad: Season Preview

As always, watch my podcast for my general overview and analysis of the team:

After the Kings XI Punjab, I feel that the Sunrisers Hyderabad made some of the best buys in the IPL Auction for 2014. They pulled in a strong, balanced squad, and look like the team to bet this IPL. They did bring in Australian duo of David Warner and Aaron Finch to combine with the retained Shikhar Dhawan to beef up the top order, but the true strength of their side comes in their bowling. After pulling back the core of their attack by retaining and buying back Dale Steyn, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Darren Sammy and Karan Sharma, they roped in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Jason Holder, Parveez Rasool, and Moises Henriques to form what is inarguably the most dangerous bowling line up this season. The only issue for them would be who be that a majority of their middle order is left in a slightly slippery position, with players like Venugopal Rao and Naman Ojha not really being in impact form over the last two years. However, they do have other options, such as Manpreet Juneja, Lokesh Rahul, and Srikkanth Aniruddha, so they do have room for experimentation. Some other things it will be interesting to see is whether Sunrisers will prefer to use Karan Sharma to Parveez Rasool, or whether they will play Ashish Reddy in their squad, as he has been good for the Sunrisers in the past.

Author’s Choice XI (Based on recent times):

Shikhar Dhawan (c)

David Warner

Aaron Finch

Lokesh Rahul (wk)

Darren Sammy

Irfan Pathan

Ashish Reddy

Karan Sharma

Amit Mishra

Dale Steyn

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

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KKR vs DD – A post-match review

Well, the IPL has started with another banger. The Kolkata Knight Riders managed to snatch a 6 – wicket win from their opponents the Delhi Daredevils. Gautam Gambhir won the toss for the Knights and chose to field first on the Eden Gardens track. The defending champs sent out a very clear message of what their intentions were this season as Brett Lee took out Unmukt Chand’s off stump in the very first ball of IPL 2013. Newly appointed skipper Mahela Jaywardene reminded KKR why he was worth the $1.4 million he was brought for, and responded by flicking the second ball for four. He then combined with David Warner in a 43-run stand which was going along comfortably at 7 an over. Then it happened. Narine. He bowled a dream delivery to have Warner caught at slip for 21, which was the turning point of the game. Mahela watched in horror as one by one, his partners fell at the other end. No one other than Warner and Mahela scored a double digit. Manpreet Juneja, Naman Ojha, Johan Botha, Andre Russell and Irfan Pathan all scored a total of 32 runs. So poor Mahela – not for the first time – had to shoulder more than he could, and eventually perished for 66 in the 19th over. After him, the hosts quickly cleaned up the tail to end DD’s innings at 128. Narine was thick among the wickets, as he snared not only Warner but Pathan, Russell, and Ashish Nehra. The T&T spinner ended with figures of 4 – 0 – 13 – 4. DD started well, with Nehra removing the dangerous Manvinder Bisla in the second over of the innings. However, Gambhir then unleashed himself on the Daredevils, and made 40+ run stands with Kallis and Manoj Tiwari before departing for 42 in the 13th over. Tiwari fell a few balls later, but Eoin Morgan and Yusuf Pathan ensured that the Knights won their first game of the season. Interestingly, this is the 4th time KKR are featuring in the opening game of an IPL, and this is the third time they have won. Sunil Narine was Man Of The Match, as he was literally playing with the batsmen, and taking wickets for fun. Well, that’s it for today. The second game, between the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore, will take place at the same time. Come back in a few hours for the match preview. See you then!

Mahela Jaywardene’s 66 was not enough to take the Daredevils to a win.

 

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Gaylestorm cleans up Australia

Cricket is a cruel sport. Just how cruel was first exhibited when India, despite winning 4 of their 5 games, failed to qualify for the semis. Another example was just exhibited yesterday, when Chris Gayle’s brutal assault knocked over the Australians by a massive 74 runs. And for the Ozzies, who had been unbeaten until their 5th game against Pakistan, had come into the semifinals riding on the back of the in-form Shane Watson. Still, in the crunch game, it’s the team effort that counts. And that’s what the Windies cooked up today. Along with Gayle’s ballistic 41-ball 75, Marlon Samuels (26 in 20) and Dwayne Bravo (37 in 31) kept the Ozzies under the thumb. The real carnage came in the form of a 65-run stand between Gayle and Kieron Pollard. This stand came in 4.1 overs, and was the final push that the Windies needed. First Mitchell Starc was blasted for 17, but the worst was reserved for Xavier Doherty, who was blasted for 25 in that last over, 18 of which came from  gigantic and consecutive sixes from Pollard. Pollard eventually perished in the last ball of the innings, but the damage had been done. 205-4. This was the final total. To chase this the Ozzies needed something special from their openers. Unfortunately, the Windies had done their homework, and Samuel Badree knocked over both Watson and David Warner. Micheal Hussey, who had been the Ozzies’ go-to man, failed for the first time as he was caught and bowled of Samuels for just 18. No resistance came from the Victs Cameron White, David Hussey and Matthew Wade. It was George Bailey, who played a brilliant 63, in just 29 balls. This included a 68-run stand between Bailey and Pat Cummins. After Bailey’s fall in the 14th over, it was all over. The tail was nullified Ravi Rampaul and Sunil Narine, and Australia were bowled out for 131, in 16.4 overs. There was also a big controversy on twitter, after a certain tweet made by David Warner. However, he has apologized, so all’s well ends well (except for the Ozzie’s bid for the cup). So, lot’s of sad endings huh! So here’s another one. Goodbye Australia, better luck next time! And now, let’s brace ourselves for the grand finale of the ICC World Cup 2012, which is tomorrow at 7:00. Adios! Catch you then!Gayle does a Gangnam style!

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Rain and Shane wash away West Indies

cricket @ iplgeek

Shane Watson en route to his 24-ball 41

Together, the rain and Shane Watson’s all round show of 41* of 24 and 2 for 29 toppled the West Indies side to win the game by 17 runs (D/L Method). After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Darren Sammy unleashed Chris Gayle on the Australians. Despite the fact that Micheal Starc had hit Dwayne Smith‘s stumps, and Daniel Christian had somehow gotten the ball between Johnson Charles‘ arm and bat; Gayle just kept his sixes coming. He went after everyone, including Brad Hogg himself. During that reign, Marlon Samuels quietly played himself in. After Gayle fell to Watson, Samuels went for it, and got his fifty in 32 balls. Unfortunately fell to Hogg, against whom he had suffered throughout the innings. Then a few cameos from Dwayne Bravo (27 of 21) and Sammy (12 of 7) took them to 191-8. Australia were given a blitzerkering start by David Warner, who smashed 28 in just 14 before he fell to Fidel Edwards. Watson and Micheal Hussey then built up on the start that Warner provided, and were 100-1 in 9.1 overs when the rain interrupted play. Looking at the D/L, Australia’s projected score was 208, 17 runs ahead. So now Australia have qualified for the Super 8s, while West Indies will now have to play a do-or-die game against Ireland. So that’s all for now, see you next time 🙂

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History repeats itself as RCB chase 200 once more.

by iplgeek 0 Comments

Today RCB proved that no total is safe as David Warner’s record of 2 consecutive tons went in vain as RCB once more stormed to a 6 wicket win chasing a well-set total of 203-2. Winning the toss for the first time since IPL-2011 and offering the Blues a bat first, their bowling got off to a good start, Dilshan dismissing Shane Watson for just 3 of 4 Then came a strong cameo between David Warner and Daniel Smith. They began smashing RCB’s bowling around the park and once again RCB’s bowling proved to be toothless. It was only in the 18th over when Sreenath Aravind castled Smith (62 of 42), but it was too late as Warner has already acquired his 2nd

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Virat Kohli's 84 powers RCB to a 6 wicket victory over NSW

consecutive ton and dominance over the innings. Diamond studded with 11 sixes and 6 fours. 204 may be a hard total to chase in general, but after the last-ball thriller over the Redbacks, RCB were not looking to go back empty-handed. Gayle got them off to the usual flyer, and Dilshan played a classy dilscoop for four. Sadly, Dilshan was dissmised on 4 of 9. Then, RCB got on with the game with Gayle & Kohli playing a flaming cameo, taking the required run rate below 10 before even 10 overs were up. Together, they also bought up the fastest 100 (8.4 overs) in clt20 and the fastest 150 as well (around the 12 over mark). Gayle also hit the biggest six of the tournament so far (it almost went out of the park:)) It was only at the 13.5 over mark with a massive 162 on the board th

at Gayle got out (92 of 41). NSW got a bit more momentum as Tiwari (0 of 1) and Agarwal (7 of 4) were felled by Patrick Cummins, who was the most succesful and the only wicket taker for NSW. However, Kohli held his nerve and scored his highest score in t20 cricket (84 not out) and a few last moment blows from Mohammed Kaif (13 not out) saw to it that the home team got a victory with 9 balls to spare. Kohli was named man of the match for his outstanding innings and for providing support to the batsmen at the other end through out the innings.
So RCB are through to the finals and this is the first time that 2 Indian teams can possibly qualify for the clt20 final. Oh, and RCB still retain the record of highest succesful run chase. Good night 🙂

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Semifinals of CLT20

by iplgeek 0 Comments

RCB in Semis at CLT20After several nail-biting finishes, the clt20 in finally at it’s semifinal stage. After RCB’s thrilling finish yesterday, the points table stands as such:

Group A

New South Wales blues
Mumbai Indians
Trinidad and Tobago
Cape Cobras
Chennai Super Kings

Group B

Somerset
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Kolkata Knight Riders
Warriors
South Australian Redbacks

As you can see, the champions of the IPL (CSK) and KFC big bash T20 (SAR) are at the bottom of their group tables. Well, one day champion; next day loser, I guess. And both the teams who finished 2nd in these 2 leagues (RCB and NSW blues) have qualified and one of them are bound to make it to the finals. Mumbai, lacking key players like
Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Munaf Patel has somehow wormed their was into The playoffs. Somerset looked as though they would not qualify, but a splendid piece of bowling which helped them beat the Warriors by 12 runs. So, see you on Friday, 8:00 pm for the first semi, RCB vs NSW blues.

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