Sunrisers Hyderabad IPL 2014 review May 25, 2014

Underachieving Sunrisers get balance wrong

An unstable batting order and inconsistent showings with the ball affected Sunrisers' progress

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Isa Guha: Dhawan did not lead from the front

Where they finished

Sixth, with six wins in 14 games.

What went right

Not much went to plan for Sunrisers Hyderabad as a unit, but there were noteworthy individual performances. David Warner was their best batsman and with 528 runs was the tournament's fourth-highest run-scorer at the end of the league stage. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the standout Indian bowler, exceeding expectations both in the UAE and in India.

What went wrong

Sunrisers had invested in big names at the auction but failed to get the balance right. A strong top order with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Warner and Aaron Finch was followed by a weak middle order. Warner's batting position was not stable. He started out in the top order, but had to be demoted to cover the slack in the middle. Sunrisers experimented by sandwiching a young Indian batsman, KL Rahul, between the openers and Warner and while it was successful in one match, Sunrisers could not apply it on a consistent basis.

One of the reasons for the constant shuffling was the indifferent form of the captain Dhawan. In the closing stages, Sunrisers relieved him of the captaincy to help him focus on his batting and Darren Sammy took over. The plan worked in helping Dhawan get his rhythm back but the team had bigger worries. Having lost four games in the halfway stage of their campaign, they had plenty of catching up to do to make the playoffs and hence had to not only sweep their remaining games, but also rely on other results to go their way. Having lost three successive games at home in Hyderabad - where they had a good record in 2013 - the situation got desperate. They recovered lost ground with two successive wins, but it proved to be too little too late.

Aside from the batting, another factor in Sunrisers' underwhelming performance was the ineffectiveness of their best bowler Dale Steyn. Steyn enjoyed better returns in the UAE, but in India he was very expensive - he was hit for more than 20 runs in an over on four different occasions in this tournament, by AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni, George Bailey and Yusuf Pathan - and not as penetrative. Fatigue may have been an issue in his case, having played all 14 matches straight after the World T20. Bhuvneshwar carried the attack but support was not forthcoming from Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma.

Key stat

Sunrisers Hyderabad scored 1943 runs in the season, the smallest aggregate among all the teams. They also hit the fewest boundaries - 239.

Best player

While many Indian bowlers struggled to maintain their rhythm when the IPL shifted from the UAE to more challenging conditions in India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the only consistent one. Bhuvneshwar managed to maintain an economy-rate of under seven in both countries and his average remained more or less the same. Batsmen found it difficult to negotiate his movement with the new ball and yorkers at the death, and with 20 wickets, he was not only the best Indian bowler but also the joint leading wicket-taker with Sunil Narine at the end of the league stage.

Worst player

After an impressive showing at the World T20, Amit Mishra's form dipped in the IPL. Having three IPL hat-tricks to his name, he did not meet expectations this time with seven wickets in 10 games. The biggest black mark against him, though, was his economy rate of 9.06. In 2013, it stood at an impressive 6.35. In this edition, he went wicketless in six out of ten games.

Surprise package

With Mishra slipping off the radar, Karn Sharma stepped up and turned in another impressive season for Sunrisers. Karn played all 14 games and took 15 wickets with a best of 4 for 38. He was often brought on to restrict the flow of runs and is among a crop of budding Indian legspinners who have impressed in the tournament.

Memorable moment

Their game against Rajasthan Royals witnessed one of the most comical run-outs. Amit Mishra tried to sneak a bye off James Faulkner but his partner Irfan Pathan wasn't interested. Mishra was already halfway down the pitch and had to turn back. The wicketkeeper Sanju Samson had plenty of time to affect a run-out but he missed the mark. Faulkner too had his chance and as Mishra's luck would have it, the fast bowler also failed to knock down the stumps. Third time lucky? No. Mishra showed no urgency whatsoever to get back and casually looked at his partner. That meant there was enough time for Samson, who finally got his aim right to find Mishra short of his crease. All three characters had their moment of embarrassment but among them, Mishra would not want to see that replay ever again.

Unused players

Ashish Reddy, Ricky Bhui, Manpreet Juneja, Chama Milind, Prasanth Parameswaran, Amit Paunikar, Brendan Taylor.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sundar on May 28, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    Amit Mishra somehow forgot the art of flight, the weapon that made him so effective in world cup T20. What were the coaches doing? You only have to look at the successful leggies, or for that matter the highly effective Harbhajan, who seem to have re-discovered flight,this IPL to see the proof of this

  • Sriram on May 27, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Oh Tom Moody, a lot was expected from you! Warner, Finch and Dhawan in same team does not work, all 3 are just openers. Dhawan as a captian was horrible to watch and Dale Steyn looked like he was playing only for some fun and lots of money! A big let down and you would never see Dale getting hit like that in interational games, shows is commitment to the fanchise. Sammy was better pick for captain, but then his place in the XI was once again doubtful. Next time pick a captain first who has experience and thus is able to pick his players in the auction and a core group. KXIP did the otherway but they had picked thier coach who knew local players well and was a good tactiction in the auction.

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    No excuses for Dale Steyn. He had more time off before the World Cup than anyone. In test cricket he is a very good fast bowler( I would not call him great because I've seen some great fast bowlers) but in sub continent conditions in T20 he is unbelievably overrated. Bangs it in with little variety. If I owned an IPL franchise I would not buy him.

  • Dysan on May 27, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    It was hard to believe that the Sunrisers didn't use Brendan Taylor

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    They should have retained Thisara Perera. He hit many useful and matchwinning comeos for them last year, and also picked up 19 wicket in 15 or 16 matches...

  • jayaesh on May 27, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    Regarding there Indian batters i was surprised they didn't use young India u-19 player Ricky Bhui, he is a very talented and hard hitting batter and had four consecutive 50's in local Vijay Hazare trophy with a high strike rate, even more surprising was that someone like Aniruddha Srikant and Venugopal Rao were preferred , i don't agree with @Samwinston 92 regarding Manpreet Juneja, i feel he is not cutout for T20 format and his game is suited more for the longer version , however i still have Faith in KL Rahul who is a classy player and Steyn heaped lavish praise on him , although he needs to bat in top 3 to get the best out of him , no body expected that Steyn and Mishra will perform so badly ...why was I Pathan being persisted with despite no contributions with either bat or ball...

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    Next Season they need an overseas middle order player. There aren't many avaliable, but Sangakara stands out as the capped overseas option, but will be expensive to purchase. The Uncapped overseas players are much cheaper and there are some good options avaliable there too, From Australia there's Nathan Reardon, Mitch Marsh (Lynn may be kept at KKR). From South Africa there's Stiaan Van Zyl or Grame van Buuren both of which are potential future stars. We'll get to see more of Stiaan Van Zyl in the CLT20, so SRH should pay attention to him during that tournament. SRH should also free up some Salaray Cap space by offloading Finch, considering they have Warner. Taylor can take over from Finch

  • Sam on May 26, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    My take on SH: 1. They need Indian middle order batsmen. Can't understand why they didn't use M Juneja. 2. Steyn haters, please note that he was fatigued & was playing games after games internationally. & for those who doubt Steyn's ability as a T20 strike bowler, just watch how Steyn defended 7 runs vs NZ in WT20 2014 & overall performance of Steyn in IPL 2013. But Steyn did suffer in this IPL. 3. Sammy should be permanent captain. Captaincy did burden S Dhawan and he wasn't scoring heavily initially. 4. Poor form of A Mishra was another factor for failure.

  • Thilanka on May 26, 2014, 20:43 GMT

    Sunrisers Hyderabad badly missing there two ICON PLAYERS Kumar Sangakkara (anchor ) & Thisara Perera ( Blaster ), Look now glenn maxwell is also try to copy Thisara !!!

  • Dennis on May 26, 2014, 19:18 GMT

    It was definitely their batting that let them down, not to mention strong opposition from opposing batting teams. It was really only 2 er 3 times that I could think of where they posted 160 or above. It was a fluke that they were able to successfully defend those scores last year but that was not a strategy they wanted to be relying on this year. Also, Mishra was not effective AT ALL this year...i don't know what happened but he looked a totally different bowler. Their top order also waited way too long to click. Dhawan constantly threw his wicket away, warner and finch weren't clicking as a didn't start to come together until the end and by then it was too late. Sammy is my favorite player but he wasn't clicking at all this tournament either indifferent with the ball and often not bowling more than 1 or 2 overs per game as well as having no timing with the bat to the point where he got dropped which is shameful for a vice captain. This was a horrid year for sunrisers.

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