As IPL 2021 is almost knocking upon the door, a lot of speculations are already doing the rounds with the perfect team combinations for grabs. Given the current league table after the end of the first half of the tournament, two teams that have taken the utmost battering until now are Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Kolkata has been rooted to the seventh position with two victories out of seven games, while Sunrisers Hyderabad has been languishing in the rock-bottom with a solitary victory. The resumption of the tournament will need a few paradigm shifts in the team to enforce a better showdown.
In this story, we will try and take a look at the probable strongest playing XI for the Orange Army as the second phase of IPL 2021 resumes from the 19th of September.
Openers: Jason Roy and Wriddhimaan Saha
The inclusion of Wriddhimaan Saha will help Hyderabad to get off to a much-needed blinder, a spectacle that is hardly evident anymore in the modern days of Hyderabad. Saha is an explosive batsman and can perform a lot under the pressure. It was his spectacular knock that aided Hyderabad in reaching the preceding edition’s play-offs.
Jason Roy’s inclusion to the top of the order will added some extra firepower to the Orange Army’s batting ranks. He has been in impressive form in recent times and his blistering showdowns in the Hundred will also instill hopes for Hyderabad. His scores of 52*, 56* and 38 in the recently concluded Hundred is one of the more reasons why the Orange Army must keep him in the line-up.
Middle-Order: Kane Williamson, David Warner, Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad, Kedar Jadhav
Kane Williamson will be the likeliest contender for the Sunrisers captaincy after Warner was defrocked of the same due to an inexplicable reason. Williamson is one of the most experienced campaigners for the Orange Army and a lot will depend on his shoulders if Sunrisers are to post a decent performance in the upcoming days.
This is a kind of uncharacteristic position for Warner. However, with Bairstow out of the equation, Warner’s expertise and his last year’s showdown will allow Hyderabad to keep the balance intact. With Warner in the hut, it is expected that the Australian southpaw can conjure a couple of rollicking performances to give them the perfect blend of balance and belligerence in the middle-order, especially with an inexperienced tail following.
Vijay Shankar was once deemed to be a future prospect in the Indian colours, considering the dearth of all-round talent. However, with the emergence of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja as blue-ribbon all-rounders, Shankar lost his place in the national squad. With all said and done, Hyderabad’s emaciated middle-order will have to bank upon his hitting prowess. He is also a decent bowler, who has already managed to claim three wickets in the tournament. Though he won’t really be the focal point of a major turnaround, yet in a line-up of uncertainty, he signals reliability.
Once a dynamic middle-order batsman, Kedar Jadhav is just a shadow of his former scintillating self. However, with his ability to hit big in the death overs, he will beat the other monikers in the race to the first team. He can also roll his arms for a while that will allow him to prise out a couple of overs.
Abdul Samad is one of the most explosive strikers of the ball in the limited format of the game and he has proven his worth in the colours of Hyderabad in the preceding edition of the tournament. He is a fearless batter and by the time he arrives, he has no intentions of relenting. Four overs of blitzkrieg in IPL 2021 and he can propel Hyderabad to a decent score.
Bowlers: Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed
Needless to say, but Rashid Khan has been absolutely indispensable to Hyderabad in the shortest format of the game, given his incessant tight line-ups and knack for wickets. He is also a brilliant hitter of the ball and can manage to add 20-25 runs in the end in a quick span of time.
Sandeep Sharma managed to pull off a decent show in IPL 2020 but as the tournament shifted back to India after the opening edition of the fray, he lost his steam midway. However, as the party arrives back in the UAE, it will be fun to watch the medium-pacer take flight again, especially with a bit of movement around the stumps.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is undoubtedly India’s best fast bowler at the moment. He is known for his wicket-taking spells and can conjure sumptuous showdowns under pressure. As the World Cup approaches, it will be a crucial phase for Kumar to belt another majestic performance in IPL 2021.
The absence of Natarajan in the series and still a persistent niggle paved the way for another rising fast bowler, Khaleel Ahmed. He can consistently register speeds up to 145 clicks, and a bit of swing sheds further light of prominence upon him.