Hyderabad’s campaign ended with a 17-run defeat to Delhi on Sunday night. They failed to book their place in the final, but they might be in a proud club after a gorgeous campaign. The squad's limitations due to injuries and the overseas players' scenario pushed their youngsters to perform on a big stage. Mitchell Marsh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were both ruled out early in the tournament. Vijay Shankar and Saha both had injury issues, and they missed out on crucial games. Even Williamson missed out four matches due to injury. With new Indian talents, Warner took his side to the second qualifier.
Nobody was giving them a place in the playoffs after looking at their team combination, but they finished at the third spot in the table and outclassed top sides this season.
Injury and youngsters shine in the healthy first half
Hyderabad’s campaign started with Marsh’s injury and two back-to-back defeats against Bangalore and Kolkata. They bounced back and won three out of the next four games to find themselves in the top four. The inexperienced middle-order was the big problem initially, but talent requires a stage, and we saw them performing against Chennai. Losing 4 major wickets at 69, young Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma rescued Hyderabad with a 77-run stand. It was the first game that showed us the slight glimpses of young talent. Abdul Samad was also handed the cap this season, and this young all-rounder from Kashmir delivered. He aggregated 111 runs at a strike rate of 170.76. In the2nd qualifier, he almost took the Orange Army to the finishing line.
From shaky to steady – turnaround of the season
In the middle of the tournament, Hyderabad lost the rhythm by losing five consecutive games, and two defeats were pure heartbreak. Against Rajasthan, they were hammered by Tewatia-Parag show, and in the next match, Kolkata defeated them in Super Over, courtesy of Ferguson’s brilliant spell. In the last league phase of the season, they were required to win the next three games to qualify for the playoffs, and the matches were against the top three sides. Saha came as a prominent survivor, and Holder’s inclusion did wonder for them. They outclassed all three opponents to finish third in the table. They edged past Bangalore in the eliminator before losing to Delhi in their farewell match of the season.
“Chaar-Minar” theory of excellence on overseas players
Hyderabad is famous for its Chaar-Minar, and this franchise signifies the same on the ground. They have four overseas players as their Chaar-Minar, who took this unit to playoffs. Warner, Rashid, Williamson, and Holder have been excellent this season.
Rashid Khan proved yet again his worth for Hyderabad’s side. With economical spell and breakthroughs at the right time, he qualifies for the champion tag. He scalped 20 wickets this season at an average of 17.20, and his economy was just 5.37, which is incredible in the shorter format of cricket.
David Warner took his time to get the rhythm in the tournament and delivered with sheer brilliance in the end. He scored 500 runs for the consecutive seasons, which is also a record. Dropping himself down in the order, trying Sandeep with the new ball, using Rashid at the right time, giving part-timers handy overs in the middle, or taking bold steps to pick overseas players, David Warner, the captain, was outstanding this season.
Kane Williamson, the banker (the name was given by his skipper), has been Hyderabad's pillar. Scoring 317 runs at an average of 45.28, and the strike rate of 133.75, Kane played a sheet-anchor in the middle-order. Take his match-winning knock in the eliminator. The New Zealand skipper picked the right deliveries to send them out of the park. The spinners were controlling the game, and he waited for the loose ball to break the gap. He executed the plan according to the field.
Jason Holder joined the side in the second half of the tournament, and you would be surprised that after his joining, Hyderabad lost just two games out of seven. Warner used him in all three phases, and he delivered each time. Holder grabbed 14 wickets in only 7 outings at an average of 16.64. The calm Holder put a match-winning stand against Bangalore, with scoring gritty 24. These four overseas players made a significant impact in the Hyderabad side.
Sandeep and Natarajan carrying the Indian pace-attack
Hyderabad’s Indian bowling-attack was in big limelight this season. In the absence of Bhuvneshwar and Khaleel, Warner used his pacers smartly.
Sandeep Sharma tried slowers and didn’t release the extra pace to control runs in the powerplay. He picked wickets with the new ball. This is the reason Warner used his 3 overs in the powerplay. Sandeep Sharma picked 14 wickets, and his majority of wickets came in the powerplay.
Natarajan was also the big positive, and his pinpoint yorkers won the matches for Hyderabad. The finest yorker to dismiss ABD in eliminator is still in our mind. Warner always saved his 3 overs in death, and Natarajan used his pace with yorkers to trouble batsmen. He scalped 16 wickets with an economy of 8, which is excellent when you bowl in death-overs.
After winning the title in 2016, Hyderabad qualified for each season's playoffs, and no other team has done it in the last 5 years. Without any big Indian name, they relied on the young talents and carried the journey till the second qualifier. The next season is five months away, and these young talents have enough spark to shine in 2021. The Orange Army is the new consistent side of the Indian T20 League after Mumbai and Chennai.