IPL 2022: Sunrisers need to pull up their socks

Sunrisers Hyderabad have to rebuild momentum to find winning ways again, writes Ayaz Memon

Delhi Capitals players celebrate the wicket of Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson (left) during their match. (PTI)
Delhi Capitals players celebrate the wicket of Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson (left) during their match. (PTI)

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Sun 8 May 2022, 1:25 AM

After a five-match winning streak, Sunrisers Hyderabad have run into strong headwinds, losing three matches on the trot. With the middle band in the points table getting terribly crowded, Hyderabad need to get a move on urgently, and what better than starting with tonight’s match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

SRH’s slump after the fabulous five-match run has been a complete surprise. The team had recovered smartly after early defeats, finding match-winners in batting and bowling, each victory making the side look better than earlier. Then, suddenly, things started to fall apart.

A big turning point was the match against Gujarat Titans when SRH conceded 22 runs in the last over and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Pace sensation Umran Malik had destroyed Gujarat’s batting taking 5-25, but the other two fast bowlers, Marco Jansen and T Natarajan had an off day, which allowed the opponents to get off the hook.

In subsequent matches, especially against the Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals, Umran while still clocking 150-kmph or thereabouts consistently, wasn’t the among wickets. This left SRH’s dreaded attack kind of defanged.

Both matches were lost SRH’s campaign started to sputter, and now they have to extricate themselves from a challenging situation which could get worse if they don’t win tonight.

When the going was good, SRH looked almost unbeatable. The bowling was potent, and the batting, despite poor returns from skipper Kane Williamson, was showing heft with overseas stars Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran joining Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi in contributing meaningful runs.

With both batting and bowling going off the boil in the last couple of matches, SRH have to refocus and rebuild momentum to find winning ways again.

What could help is the memory of their first match against RCB. It turned out to be a cakewalk as Bangalore floundered against Jansen, Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umran, collapsing for a miserable 68 in 24.1 overs, which SRH easily overhauled for the loss of only one wicket.

Mind you, this match was played some time back. The frenetic pace and hurly-burly of the IPL mean situations and fortunes change rapidly and no team can afford to live on past achievements. It’s how good you are on the day that matters.

While RCB are ahead on points and come into this match on the back of a win, they have been terribly vulnerable which opposing teams will look to exploit. The big problem for them is in the batting. While strong on paper, it has been wobbly and inconsistent, often undoing the hard work of the bowlers.

That Virat Kohli, among the best batsmen in the history of the IPL, has been the weak link is a bitter irony. Experiencing his worst season ever, Kohli has scores of 58 and 33 in his two previous innings, but still looks a pale shadow of the master batsman he was until a couple of years ago.

If RCB are on 12 points in spite of Kohli’s failures, it only reveals how good they would be if he starts firing. A place in the playoffs would almost certainly be assured, and the mood in Indian cricket would also get uplifted.

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