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IPL 2021: Failure of Middle and Lower Order Hurting Sunrisers Hyderabad Time & Again

IPL 2021: Failure of Middle and Lower Order Hurting Sunrisers Hyderabad Time & Again

The Sunrisers Hyderabad have been top-heavy for a few seasons now and the failure of the lower middle-order is hurting them big-time at the start of their campaign in IPL 2021.

For the second time in as many matches, the Sunrisers Hyderabad has made heavy weather of what should have been an easy chase and squandered an opportunity to grab two points in the 2021 Indian Premier League. As a result, the David Warner-led side have now lost their first three matches in the competition and are languishing at the bottom of the points table. And once again, the shortcomings in the middle order are coming to haunt the 2016 champions. What is interesting is that all these losses have come chasing at Chennai for the Sunrisers – reinforcing the difficulty in overhauling a target at the venue.

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Manish Pandey and Jonny Bairstow gave them a fighting chance in their pursuit of 188 against the Knight Riders but there was not much contribution thereafter. Mohammad Nabi was dismissed for 14 off 11 deliveries, Vijay Shankar could only muster 11 off 7. Abdul Samad did try with an 8-ball 19 but it was a case of too little too late as SRH went down by 10 runs.

It was a similar story three days later at the same venue. Chasing a modest 149 set by Royal Challengers Bangalore, skipper David Warner and Manish Pandey stitched together 83 for the second wicket before the captain’s exit triggered a dramatic collapse which saw the Sunrisers lose 8 wickets for 47 runs. There was just one double-digit score from positions 5-11 (Rashid Khan) as the SRH middle and lower-order crumbled under pressure and fell like a pack of cards.

From coasting to victory with just 54 needed from 41 deliveries with 9 wickets in hand, the Sunrisers made a mess of the chase and were beaten by 6 runs. Abdul Samad (0 off 2 balls), Vijay Shankar (3 off 5) and Jason Holder (4 off 5) all let the team down.

The pattern again repeated itself against Mumbai Indians three days after. David Warner and Jonny Bairstow gave SRH a rollicking start in their pursuit of 151 hammering 57 in the powerplay. Surely, the Sunrisers had this match in their pocket. Not quite! After a fine platform given by the openers – they put together 67 for the first wicket in just over 7 overs, there was again a collapse with only two more batmen registering double-digit scores.

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After Warner’s exit with the score at 90 in the 12th over, SRH still had the match in their grasp with 61 needed off 51 deliveries at a required rate of 7.18 with seven wickets in hand. But they panicked and barring 28 from Vijay Shankar there was no significant contribution from the middle and lower order who fell like ninepins. Virat Singh – 11 off 12 deliveries, Abhishek Sharma – 2 off 4, Abdul Samad – 7 off 8 and Rashid Khan for a golden duck. The team lost their last 8 wickets for 47 runs in 51 deliveries!

The failure of the middle order and over dependence on their top-order – namely the likes of Warner, Bairstow, Williamson and Pandey – has been a seasonal story for Sunrisers Hyderabad. The contribution of the lesser known players – Samad, Shankar, Holder, Abhishek Sharma – has been negligible and this has come to haunt them big-time.

Time and again the top-order and the bowlers have come to the rescue of the Sunrisers. But it is high time the middle and lower order raise their game and start contributing for the franchise. Their failure has resulted in one of the worst starts for the team in an IPL edition as they are relegated to the bottom of the table.​

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