IPL 2019 team review: David Warner and Jonny Bairstow shine in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s worst bowling season
Sunrisers Hyderabad, runners-up in 2018, ended IPL 2019 on a poor note. © BCCI

How do you go from winning three of your first four matches of IPL 2019 to losing four of their last five and then squeezing into the playoffs with just 12 points – the lowest for any franchise in 12 years of the IPL?

Just ask Sunrisers Hyderabad, who promised so much before the season but huffed and puffed to reach the Eliminator and lose by two wickets with one ball remaining.

“Two qualify with six wins, it doesn’t look pretty” said the skipper Kane Williamson after Sunrisers’ season ended on Wednesday.

The truth is, Sunrisers were too reliant on their record-setting opening pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, hurt by Khaleel Ahmed‘s absence for almost half of the season and the inconsistency of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vijay Shankar and Manish Pandey.

Warner left the IPL as the leading run-getter, and the Orange Cap will most certainly still be his when the season ends. Bairstow, in his first IPL, scored 445 runs in 10 innings. Left-arm pacer Khaleel missed six matches with injury. Bhuvneshwar, for so many seasons the SRH spearhead, managed only 13 wickets and was often expensive.

Shankar – one of three players traded from Delhi Capitals for Shikhar Dhawan – did little of note with bat or ball. Pandey was dropped after making 54 runs in five innings with a top score of 19 and a strike-rate of 93.10, and only returned to form in the latter half with three fifties in Sunrisers’ last six matches.

Williamson missed several matches as he recovered from injury and then a couple as he flew back to New Zealand after the death of his grandmother, and managed just one fifty in nine games.

IPL 2019 record: P 15 W 6 L 9 (Eliminator included)

High point

Beating Royal Challengers Bangalore by 118 runs. In their third match of IPL 2019, SRH soared to 231/2 thanks to centuries from Warner and Bairstow in a record opening stand of 185. In reply, RCB were bowled out for 113 with Mohammad Nabi taking 4/11.

Low point

Being bowled out for 96. Set a target of 136 to beat Mumbai Indians, SRH were dismissed in 17.4 overs with the IPL debutant Alzarri Joseph claiming record figures of 6/12.

That defeat snapped a run of three consecutive wins for SRH and they proceeded to lose three in a row thereafter. That loss to MI proved a turning point for the worse.

kane williamson ipl 2019 performance
Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson made just 156 runs in nine innings this IPL. © BCCI

Captaincy verdict

Williamson’s captaincy was overall smart, barring the odd decision to give the penultimate over of the Eliminator to Basil Thampi instead of Khaleel. While he was out, Bhuvneshwar led SRH in the early stage of the tournament and it was during this time that his bowling, especially in the slog over, was very ordinary.

Most valuable player

During his comeback to the IPL after serving his sentence for ball-tampering in South Africa last year, Warner amassed 692 runs at an average of 69.2 and strike-rate of 143.86 before returning home. His 81 off 56 balls in SRH’s big win over Kings XI Punjab in Warner’s final match was his ninth 50-plus score of the season.

Major disappointment

Vijay Shankar. Primed before the start of IPL 2019 as a vital cog in Sunrisers’ wheel, chiefly because of the spark shown during his ODI and T20I appearances for India this year, the Tamil Nadu allrounder did little of note.

He was given a regular spot at No 4 but averaged 20.33 from 14 innings, at a strike-rate of 126.42 without a single half-century. Shankar began well with scores of 40* off 24 balls and then 35 from 15 but thereafter he did not cross 27 and was dismissed in the twenties four times.

With the ball, he bowled only eight overs, managed one wicket and conceded runs at 8.75 per over.

Vijay Shankar IPL 2019 stats
The sight of Vijay Shankar failing after getting a start was common for SRH. © BCCI

Verdict

Runners-up in 2018 and winners of the IPL in 2016, Sunrisers were just too reliant on Warner and Bairstow with the bat and Rashid Khan with the ball. Their bowling, for years their hallmark, let them down in 2019. Surprisingly, SRH lost six of eight matches when defending. The two matches they won when defending came after Warner and Bairstow helped put up 212 and 231 on the board.

Compare this to 2018, when they successfully defended five of nine games, including totals of 118 and 127.

All told, this was SRH’s worst bowling performance across an IPL season and it showed. Sidharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma and Thampi could not hold their places in the XI and the Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan were excess baggage.

Statistics

Most runs: David Warner – 692 at 69.20, strike-rate 143.86, 100 x 1, 50 x 8

Most wickets: Rashid Khan – 17 at 22.17, economy 6.28, strike-rate 21.1, BB 3/21

Highest individual score: Jonny Bairstow– 114 vs RCB, Hyderabad

Best bowling in an innings: Mohammad Nabi – 4/11 vs RCB, Hyderabad