Sunrisers Hyderabad need their strike bowlers to play leading roles if they have to get into the playoffs © IANS & PTI
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling doesn’t look strong enough with the struggles of Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. Nishad Pai Vaidya says Hyderabad need their strike bowlers to play leading roles if they have to get into the playoffs.
On paper, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have the strongest bowling attack in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. Dale Steyn, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Karn Sharma and Darren Sammy are a formidable combination in the IPL 2013. The addition of Bhuvneshwar Kumar only strengthened their unit heading into IPL 2014, but only latest recruit has been consistent with the others struggling to find form. Steyn and Mishra’s woes in particular are hurting Hyderabad as they are their main strike bowlers.
In previous seasons, even before the franchise transferred to the Sunrisers from the erstwhile Deccan Chargers, Mishra and Steyn were the men who got the wickets and led the way. They have specific roles in this side, something they haven’t performed effectively this season. While Steyn takes the new ball and tries to land early blows, Mishra is someone who hits the opposition in the middle overs, thereby stalling their progress. With this plan in place, the others usually bowled around them and chipped in. This strategy worked for them very well in the IPL 2013 with Thisara Perera and Ishant also doing well.
This year, both Steyn and Mishra have been expensive and haven’t quite taken too many wickets. Steyn has 10 wickets in 10 matches, but has gone for 7.45 runs an over. It is certainly too high for a bowler of his quality. In the three previous seasons, he has recorded economy rates of 5.66, 6.10 and 6.57. Also, another important detail is that he has gone wicketless in five out of the 10 matches. That does tell you about his inconsistency this year.
Steyn was smashed around during the recent game against Kings XI Punjab. It is hard to believe that he went for over 50 in his spell even though it was a belter of a wicket. That was the major assault on him this season, apart from the AB de Villiers-blitz. Even then, Steyn didn’t quite bowl in his perfect channels as he did not hit the right lengths, nor did he bowl a single yorker.
Coming to Mishra, he has been struggling for a while now. He had a brilliant start to the ICC World T20 2014, but since then, his form has tapered off. In Hyderabad’s first game of the IPL 2014, he began well with two for 26. Since then, it has been a tough ride as he has gone for over 50 on two occasions. In his nine matches at the IPL 2014 so far, he has conceded over 30 on four occasions. This season, he has conceded runs at 9.10 an over and has averaged 39.00. Compare that to his economy of 6.35 and average of 18.76 in the IPL 2013.
Hyderabad now bank on Bhuvneshwar to do the job for them. It isn’t just about his swing with the new ball anymore as he has become an able death bowler. For someone who wasn’t considered good enough to bowl in the slog overs, Bhuvneshwar has come a long way and is consistently hitting the right lengths with the pressure on him. With 18 wickets to his credit, he holds the purple cap. However, one man doesn’t take you through to the playoffs.
Hyderabad weren’t helped by Sammy’s difficult run as he too went at over 10. Sammy’s replacement, Moises Henriques, also hasn’t done much with both bat and ball. Ishant was also expensive and Bhuvneshwar has edged him out of the side. Irfan Pathan is yet to find his bowling rhythm. Things don’t look very good for Hyderabad on the bowling front. But, don’t write them off just yet. Steyn is a champion and can turn the tide with the heat on him. Mishra too can bounce back. If Hyderabad are to make it through to the playoffs, Steyn and Mishra have to play leading roles with the ball.
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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)