Sunrisers Hyderabad 2014: Squad, Auction Deals, Captain and Probable Team
They have a strong squad with a number of powerhouse players and should realistically aim for that stage again. Even their coaching staff boasts, with the likes of Tom Moody and Waqar Younis, a formidable combination to get the players motivated.
On paper, Sunrisers could even be favourites to go all the way to the final, but it will take a team effort to make it so.
As part of Bleacher Report's extensive coverage of this season's Indian Premier League, this slideshow will preview the Kolkata Knight Riders’ prospects this year.
Indian Players: Shikhar Dhawan (captain), Amit Mishra, Irfan Pathan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Naman Ojha, Karan Sharma, Parvez Rasool, KL Rahul, Venugopal Rao, S Anirudha, Manpreet Juneja, Ricky Bhui, Amit Paunikar, P Parameswaran, Ashish Reddy, Chama Milind
Foreign Players: Dale Steyn, Darren Sammy, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Moises Henriques, Jason Holder, Brendan Taylor
Sunrisers opted to retain Dhawan and Steyn and did some solid business during the auction. Dhawan will also take over as skipper from Kumar Sangakkara, while Steyn needs no introduction.
The Sunrisers spent a good chunk of money on some local "unknowns" and dished out the big bucks for Warner, Finch, Mishra and Sammy.
Their strategy seemed to revolve mainly around bringing back important players like Mishra and Sammy while bulking up a mix of other star profiles.
Squad strength: 24
Amount spent: $9.83 million
Most expensive player: David Warner, $916,000
Batsmen: 8; Bowlers: 9; All-rounders: 4; Wicketkeepers: 3
Rating Their Business
After a successful World T20 campaign for Mishra, Sunrisers will be pretty pleased they brought him back for $791,000. At that price tag, he probably still represents quite a bargain.
Similarly, Sammy for the price of $583,000 is an absolute steal. He is fast becoming one of the best finishers of the game and has had a stellar few months in white-ball cricket. He could very well become the Sunrisers' MVP during their campaign.
India starlet Bhuvneshwar Kumar for $708,000 was another fine buy. He showed during the World T20 that he has the ability to force pressure and swing the ball in any conditions, a handy skill to have in the shortest format of the game.
The $666,000 they paid for Finch again looks like great business. Finch is more consistent than Warner, and if Sunrisers manage to shuffle the team to have them both at the top of the order, there will be fireworks.
Sunrisers have done a good job of compiling a strong and balanced squad. There is a wealth of experience in this team and with a support structure consisting of some of the finest mind in cricket, they look set for a solid campaign.
Batting strength: B+
Bowling strength: A-
Captain and Coach
With Sangakkara out of the picture, Dhawan takes over as captain. He has had a little bit of a dry batting spell as of late, though, so don't be surprised if Sammy dons the armband instead.
The support staff is glittering. Australian Tom Moody, who previously coached Kings XI, is head coach and he is supported by Melbourne Renegades coach Simon Helmot. Helmot has worked closely with Finch at the Australian franchise and took the Renegades to the semi-final of the Big Bash in the 2012-13 season.
Then there is Waqar Younis as the bowling coach and to complete the package, Krish Srikkanth and VVS Laxman will serve as mentors.
1. Shikhar Dhawan (c)
2. David Warner
3. Aaron Finch
4. Naman Ojha
5. Darren Sammy
6. Parveez Rasool
7. Karan Sharma
8. Amit Mishra
9. Dale Steyn
10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
11. Ishant Sharma
Prediction for the Tournament
Back in the day when they were known as the Deccan Chargers, the Sunrisers won the competition as dark horses. After finishing stone-last in the first edition, Deccan nabbed the trophy the following year.
Their big weakness lies in the middle order, and the team will be heavily reliant on Sammy doing a patch-up job if the top order fails. With a superbly strong bowling line-up, there is room to get away with low totals, depending on the conditions.
If the players can stay fit—with Steyn a particular concern—the Sunrisers have a very good chance of making it to the semi-finals. The one really good thing is that unlike some of their big-spending, celebrity-endorsed competitors, the Sunrisers are relatively low-key, meaning the pressure to perform could be far, far less.