I am starting a series of posts in which I will present an analysis of all the teams in this edition of IPL. First up are the new champions.
If you look back at the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League, there is one thing that you can say with certainty, and that is, this year’s IPL was by far the best. It was a perfect blend of excitement, thrill, and upsets. We had some matches that were hopelessly one sided and some which were decided on the last ball. That is what a true cricket fan wants from a match.
Among the eight teams that featured this season, there were a couple of teams that caught everybody’s attention with their determination, ability to survive and deliver in high pressure situations and most importantly, with their superlative performances. Those teams were Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, led by the charismatic David Warner, had by far the most potent bowling attack in this IPL. The pace battery consisting of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur “ The Fizz” Rahman, Ashish Nehra, Barinder Sran and Henriques(and later on Cutting as well) covered up the dearth of spinners and delivered consistently. They made inroads early into the innings and then choked up the run flow in the death overs with some lovely yorkers and slower deliveries.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished with the Purple Cap (23 wickets) and “The Fizz” collected the Emerging Player of the Tournament award. This is a testament to the quality of bowling this team had. One cannot forget the contribution of the wily old Ashish Nehra who led the attack with his experience but was unfortunate to get injured at the business end of the league.
Sunrisers’ ability to perform well in this season was widely underrated, mainly due to the lack of quality batsmen who could stabilize the innings in the event of a collapse and/or can accelerate in the death overs. There were numerous occasions where SRH collapsed like a pack of cards after the departure of Warner with no one to hold one end up. This was partly due to the lack of experience in the middle order with batsman like Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha, Henriques and partly due to the lack of temperament. It is true that Warner carried the team to the final and then over the line. It was because of him that the best bowling attack got a reasonable target to defend, which they did on most occasions.
All problems aside, what impressed everybody was the grit and determination this team showed under pressure and the belief they had in their ability to win their maiden title. The backroom staff comprising of Tom Moody, VVS Laxman and Muttiah Muralitharan did an excellent job in making this not-so-flashy team a champion. Muralitharan summed it up quite nicely:
Nobody rated we will win when we started the tournament. We worked very hard. Every game was tough for us. We regrouped and won.
Sunrisers Hyderabad were a revelation this IPL and with a couple of experienced batsmen shoring up the middle order, this time can win even more titles in the future.
In the end, I would like to ask you to watch Mustafizur’s toe crushing yorker to Andre Russell in the group match against KKR. It was simply amazing!
In my opinion,
Best batsman- David Warner
Best bowler- The Fizz