Sunrisers Hyderabad have been the early pace setters in IPL 2018, winning their first three games and looking like the team to beat this season.
Ably led by Kane Williamson, SRH have bucked a trend that we might usually associate with the IPL, namely that you need big hitters, big hitters and more big hitters. SRH’s assured performances have been led by their bowlers, rather than their batsmen.
SRH’s top innings score this season stands at a somewhat measly looking 151. That is only the 20th highest total of this tournament, one which has already seen five scores of 200+ (at the time of writing on 18 April 2018).
It is in the bowling department where the secrets to SRH’s early success lies. The excellent young Afghan leg spinner, Rashid Khan, has been SRH’s most economical bowler, conceding his runs at an asphyxiating 5.58 per over.
Billy Stanlake, the lanky Aussie seamer, has been SRH’s least frugal bowler, getting carted for 7.66 runs per over.
Except, Stanlake hasn’t been carted at all. As a point of comparison, the star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore have plenty of batting firepower, but little in the way of control with the ball. RCB may have Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson, but their bowling has been too weak and their resources look to have been applied unevenly.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been RCB’s most economical bowler, going at 8.64 runs per over. Compare that Stanlake and you can see the extent of how well SRH have bowled.
Of course, pitches and conditions play into this and SRH have only played three games, but the difference in approach between SRH and some of the others, like RCB, is already reaping its rewards. You wouldn’t bet against them adding to their 2016 title this year.
By Miles Reucroft