Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) who were the defending champions of the IPL 2017 got knocked out of the tournament in a rain-effected match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) that extended till 1 am on 18th May. The Sunrisers struggled to make 120 runs against excellent bowling on a slow pitch and then had rain play spoilsport by reducing the target for Kolkata Knight Riders to a meager 48 off 6 overs, which Kolkata chased with ease. Here are 5 reasons why even though SRH lost the match but still managed to make a special place in all of our hearts:
The Afghan Twins
Not many were familiar with the names Mohammed Nabi and Rashid Khan before the IPL 2017. However, SRH made it a point to buy out the Afghan twins in the pre-tournament auctions held in February 2017. The 18-year-old Rashid Khan nicknamed ‘Afghanistan’s Afridi’ justified his whopping salary of Rs 4 crore and has become a household name, by taking 17 wickets in 14 matches while giving runs at a miserly economy of 6.6 runs per over. He outfoxed renowned players of spin like Gautam Gambhir and Steve Smith, who were unable to read the crafty teenagers googlies. With his best of 19/3 against Mumbai Indians, Rashid Khan overshadowed his Afghani counterpart Mohammad Nabi, who played only 3 matches and couldn’t have a huge impact on the fortunes of SRH.
However, the inclusion of both these young cricketers from war-torn Afghanistan into the IPL, while the rest of the teams disregarded players belonging to minnow nations, was a bold step by SRH which has not only earned them a lot of respect but also allowed them to garner a huge fan following in Afghanistan.
Young Fast Bowlers
While every other team was drooling over international fast bowlers such as Pat Cummins and Ben Stokes, SRH nurtured young Indian bowlers and trained them to perform effectively at the International level. One such bowler was Mohammed Siraj, the son of an autorickshaw driver was picked up by SRH for a life-changing amount of Rs 2.6 crore. Siraj has been molded by veteran coaches Tom Moody and Muttiah Muralitharan into a pure fast bowler, constantly bowling at speeds over 140 kmph. With an average of 21.20 and best figures of 4/32, Siraj seems like a bright prospect for SRH in the years to come.
Fearless Captain Warner
The Sunrisers Hyderabad captain has been in tremendous form and finished the tournament with 641 runs, including a ton and four fifties. He led the team from the front, coming in to open the innings for SRH and showing positive intent right from the first ball in each match. He scored 126 runs off 59 balls versus KKR in the league stage, which is the highest score by a captain in the history of the IPL. It was an inspiring sight watching the Australian David Warner captaining and mentoring young Indian players, right after the controversy filled Border-Gavaskar Trophy played between arch-rivals India and Australia.
Return of Yuvi
Yuvraj Singh nicknamed Yuvi, the hero of the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, has been looking to make a comeback to International cricket ever since 2011 when he was diagnosed with cancer. He has been a talisman for SRH and showed signs of coming back to his destructive form of the past. The swashbuckling southpaw scored a 27-ball 62 versus Royal Challengers Bangalore and 70 off 41 balls versus Delhi Daredevils, giving his fans glimpses of Yuvi of the past. Watching the legend play such amazing cricket even after battling cancer is an inspiration to everyone.
Come Back Kings
SRH have rightfully earned the title of comeback Kings. After being denied points due to a washed-out game against RCB, which is polled to be one of the weakest teams in the IPL this year, SRH needed to win both of their last 2 matches to guarantee a spot in the Top 4. They had a resounding win against one of the tournament favorites Mumbai Indians and then came back to restrict the rampaging Gujarat Lions to 154/10 after they were on course for a 200 plus target with 111 runs in just 10.1 overs. The resilience of the SRH team was also visible in their final match versus KKR when they took 3 wickets in a span of 8 balls while defending a paltry total of 48. This never give up attitude and willingness to fight till the very last ball is something we will all look forward to in the next edition of the IPL.