Even before IPL 7 kicked off, Sunrisers Hyderabad were viewed among the weaker sides in the event. And, the way things panned out, the critics stand vindicated about their view. Out of their 14 matches, Hyderabad managed to win six matches, which wasn’t a bad effort in itself, but they had a capacity to claim a few more wins, even though that too wouldn’t have ensured them a place in the play-offs stage. Even with the limited talent in their pool, Hyderabad would believe that they played below potential to lose eight matches.
Hyderabad’s overdependence on a few batsmen, and the failure of those names as well were in a big way responsible for Hyderabad’s exit from IPL 7. Shikhar Dhawan was the biggest disappointment of all. He began the event as leader of the side, but midway through the series decided to give up captaincy as it was affecting his batting. At the end of it all, he failed to impress either with the bat or as leader. Being the opener, Dhawan’s figures were even poorer. He managed only 377 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 118 with only two half-centuries. Clearly, a forgettable tournament for Dhawan.
Aaron Finch was another batsman of whom so much was expected. The burly Aussie had a mixed IPL 7, with 309 from 13 games. He managed only two fifties with a highest of 88 not out and a strike rate of 117. Finch hit some form during the early part of the tournament, but towards the end of it his struggles increased to such an extent that he had to be dropped from the team’s final game against Kolkata. It didn’t make a difference as Hyderabad were undone in that match as well.
Of all the batsmen, David Warner was the only one who stood out for Hyderabad. He was constantly shunted up and down the order during the course of the tournament, and yet kept his form intact. Warner will end up among the top run-getters in IPL 7 even though he will not feature in the play-offs. In 14 matches, the left-hander amassed 528 runs with as many as six fifties at an impressive strike rate of 141. His bludgeoning knocks kept Hyderabad’s hopes of qualification alive till the very end, but the lack of support for him cost the team in the end.
Leaving aside Warner and, to an extent, Finch and Dhawan, the rest of the batting line-up did not do anything of note. No youngster put his hand up and delivered like some of the unknown players in the other sides did. In the bowling department, Bhuvneshwar Kumar stood out with his accuracy and ability to pick up wickets consistently. But, again there was no support for him. Both the experienced hands in the bowling line up, Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra, were taken to the cleaners. It isn’t surprising thus that they have been ousted before the play-offs kick off.
--By A Cricket Analyst