SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) were one of the best teams to be a part of last year's Indian Premier League (IPL), maybe even better than the current champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and if it wasn't for Shane Watson's heroic 117-run innings in the final, the men in orange and black could have even won their second title.
Known for their exceptional bowling lineup, SunRisers came to be known as the 'guardians of low totals' because of their bowlers being able to not only hold their opponents to a low score but also take wickets in the process.
Here are the key players for SunRisers Hyderabad, who will play a major part in the squad's attempt to bring home the trophy:
1. Rashid KhanView this post on Instagram
ð¶ Woke up in the morning feeling fine, got @rashid.khan19 's magic spell on my mind ð¶ Hattrick hero. First player to take 4 wickets in 4 balls in a T20I. 11 wickets in the series. WHAT. A. PLAYER. ð¤© #OrangeArmy #RashidRush
A post shared by SunRisers Hyderabad (@sunrisershyd) on Feb 24, 2019 at 8:55pm PST
This 20-year-old bowler from Afghanistan is somewhat of the main man for the franchise. His variations with the ball has made him his opponents' worst nightmare and also provided him with the top position in ICC's T20 rankings for bowlers as he's bagged 75 wickets in 38 T20Is with a staggering economy of just 6.02 throughout his career.
SunRisers clearly are in awe of this young star as they paid more than double of what they did last year to make sure Khan doesn't go anywhere else. Opening their season against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday, the team will depend heavily on his wrist-spin bowling to bring them success.
2. David WarnerMarch 19, 2019
For any sportsperson, his integrity and respect in the eyes of his fans are very important, maybe even bigger than the championship, itself. After stepping down from captaincy and later being disbarred from playing in the league altogether last year, the 2019 season has to mean a lot more to David Warner than any of his teammates.
Warner is one of those players who are a perfect fit for wherever they play. Being under contract with the team since the 2014 IPL auction, he holds the records for scoring the most runs by an overseas player (4,014), most half-centuries (35) and the highest individual score by a captain (126) in the league.
3. Kane WilliamsonView this post on Instagram
'When he's on song, Kane Williamson is the most attractive batsman to watch in world cricket' - Virat Kohli #TeamIndia skipper @imVkohli has heaped praise on his Kiwi counterpart's batting prowess ð #OrangeArmy, what do you make of #KingKohli's assessment of @kane_s_w? ð¤
A post shared by SunRisers Hyderabad (@sunrisershyd) on Jan 25, 2019 at 1:34am PST
Known for his cool temper as a skipper but an absolute beast with the bat, Kane Williamson proved his worth to Hyderabad in the 2017 season when he amassed 256 runs with a strike rate of 151.47 in just seven matches and was promoted as the leader of the squad.
In the 2018 season, the Kiwi outdid himself as he became the top scorer of the league (735), won the Orange Cap and took his side to the final. If the team wants to make it big this season yet again, Williamson has to play on a similar level.
4. Bhuvneshwar KumarView this post on Instagram
A post shared by SunRisers Hyderabad (@sunrisershyd) on Jan 28, 2019 at 1:35am PST
Having a bad run with injuries, one of the finest bowlers of the Indian cricket team, Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a below-average IPL season last year when he was able to scalp just nine wickets in 12 matches.
However, it seems Bhuvi is back to his ideal fitness conditions and his decent performance in the series Down Under and New Zealand have to have a positive impact on the pacer's confidence and that of the SRH team managers.
5. Manish PandeyView this post on Instagram
#SyedMushtaqAliTrophy 2019 Champion ð . Congratulations to our Riser @manishpandeyinsta for leading Karnataka throughout the tournament! ð #OrangeArmy ð§¡ . . . #SunRisersHyderabad #Hyderabad #Cricket #Champion #Karnataka
A post shared by SunRisers Hyderabad (@sunrisershyd) on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:24am PDT
Raw, brute force is what comes to mind when you try to define Manish Pandey's cricketing style and it seems to resonate with the owners of the team who literally invested a fortune behind his success. Keeping aside the retained players, Pandey was Hyderabad's biggest buy at Rs. 11 crore.
Playing in 15 matches for SunRisers, the right-handed batsman scored a total of 284 runs at a 25.81 batting average which is not that great, especially for the mammoth deal with franchise. However, Pandey has shown significant improvement in his stint with the India A roster and during the latest Ranji Trophy season with Karnataka.