© IANS
Shikhar Dhawan (left) and David Warner scored the bulk of the runs for SRH © IANS

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) started well in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 but fell away towards the end, finishing sixth in the points table. Nikhil Popat has a look at what went wrong for them and how they can improve further. IPL 2015 Highest run-scorer: List of best batsmen in IPL 8

SRH had one of their best auctions where they managed to pick up some stellar players like Kevin Pietersen, Trent Boult, Kane Williamson and Eoin Morgan. They looked a strong team a paper but things did not quite go as planned. Kevin Pietersen had to withdraw from IPL in pursuit of an international recall to England. It is another story that he was eventually never considered. It was a huge setback for them but they still had a good enough squad to do better than finishing in the bottom half of the table. IPL 2015 Highest wicket-taker: List of best bowlers in IPL 8

SRH relied heavily on their top three, which cost them heavily. The lack of Indian batting talent in their ranks exposed them as they crashed out of the tournament after an embarrassing display against Mumbai Indians (MI). Bowling had been their stronger suit but when they had an off day, the batsmen did not step up.

They won seven games and lost as many in IPL 8. The one that may hurt them the most will be when David Warner stepped on the ropes trying to celebrate a catch off Virat Kohli at Hyderabad. It was a crucial game for them, and as things panned out, it was that mistake which may have cost them a place in the playoff. IPL 2015 most dismissals by wicketkeeper: List of best wicketkeeper in IPL 8

Positives: SRH had easily one of the best bowling attacks in IPL 2015. With the likes of Dale Steyn, Trent Boult, Bhuvneshwar Kumar in their ranks, they had a very good pace attack. Bhuvneshwar was the pick of the bowlers for SRH and bowled good both in the Powerplay overs and also in the death.

PLAYER

M

I

R

W

BBI

AVE

ECO

SR

B Kumar

14

14

407

18

3/26

22.61

7.87

17.2

Moises Henriques

9

9

158

11

3/16

14.36

6.32

13.6

Karn Sharma

14

14

332

10

2/12

33.20

8.33

23.9

Trent Boult

7

7

236

9

3/19

26.22

8.42

18.6

Praveen Kumar

12

12

329

7

2/35

47.00

9.13

30.8

SRH’s batting was based on the foundations set by David Warner. He was prolific at the top and still holds the Orange Cap. With just the Qualifier 2 and final to be played, there is a possibility of him holding it for this edition of the tournament. IPL 2015 Leading fielders: List of Best fielders in IPL 8

PLAYER

M

I

R

HS

AVE

SR

50s

David Warner

14

14

562

91

43.23

156.5

7

Shikhar Dhawan

14

14

353

54

27.15

123.4

3

Moises Henriques

9

9

287

74*

41.00

136.0

2

Eoin Morgan

9

9

187

63

23.37

123.8

1

Ravi Bopara

9

8

145

41

29.00

120.8

0

Issues: The above tables show the good numbers for players but it also depicts the issue and the reason for SRH not doing well. In batting, apart from the openers, they did not give anyone a longer rope which hampered their progress. They have tried KL Rahul, Ravi Bopara and Hanuma Vihari at No. 3, but did not stick with them. Their jumbling came to a halt only when Moises Henriques was promoted up the order but that came at an expense of an overseas bowler — Steyn, no less. The more successful teams have their best batsmen in the top three. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been perfect example. It is an area which SRH did not explore enough. They did not play Kane Williamson who would have been a perfect player to anchor the innings. David Warner was the like a one-man army.

This affected their bowling department, which was their strength. SRH even had to drop Boult and Steyn from their side to include two all-rounders since the batting line-up was struggling. It was a step which showed their desperation and showed how poorly they managed the player combinations. IPL 2015 Most 6s and 4s: List of most dangerous batsmen in IPL 8

Steps to improve: With Pietersen likely to be free for them in next edition, they still need to find Indian domestic talent to fill in the middle order. Rahul and Naman Ojha are bright prospects. If the management can go back to the drawing board, work with them and get them to score runs consistently, it can solve their main issue and make them a formidable team. Their bowling ranks are well filled but they would like to have the extra option of a spin bowler, for Karn Sharma blowing hot and cold very often. They have a good squad but need to fill the chinks in their armour and be more consistent in their performances. Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015: Complete coverage

(Nikhil Popat is a cricket lover and a PotterHead. He can be followed on Twitter @CricCrazyNIKS)