Shocking defeat of SRH in IPL provides important lessons

Hyderabad Desk

The complete annihilation of Sunrisers Hyderabad by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the final of the IPL has left the Hyderabad fans heartbroken. Following a shockingly poor batting display, the SRH team was dumped into the dustbin. So what went wrong? Why did a strong batting line up which had created new records in the tournament suddenly collapse like a house of cards?

One blunder was the decision to bat first. SRH skipper Pat Cummins explained later that the pitch seemed to be full of runs. The captain knew that he had batters who could pulverise any attack in the IPL and he relied on them to come out with all their guns blazing. But to everyone’s dismay all the big guns failed together.

It was Mitchell Starc who initiated the rout by capturing two early wickets – that of Abhishek Sharma for 2 and Rahul Tripathi for 9. Before Tripathi, it was one of SRH’s most reliable batters Travis Head, who went out for a duck. South African Aiden Markram managed only 20 and Heinrich Klaasen scored 16. The top scorer was Cummins himself who came in at number nine and scored 24. It was a sorry state of affairs and looked like abject surrender.

Brearley’s thoughts on form

Former England captain Mike Brearley who is considered to be one of the best captains in the history of cricket, has written an interesting book titled “On Form” wherein he has discussed the reasons for a player’s inexplicable loss of form. According to Brearley who was also a professional psychoanalyst, it is all in the mind.

Brearley writes that a player should not analyse his situation or the game too much. There is an optimum level beyond which thinking becomes overthinking. That can lead to disaster. What applies to an individual player can also apply to a team. If there has been too much discussion, expectations from everyone are too high and there is excessive pressure, an entire team could collapse together. That is what perhaps led to the crumbling of a strong SRH batting line up.

The way forward

However, what has happened has happened. It is no use crying over spilt milk as the saying goes. The SRH think tank must now decide upon what is the best way forward.

One of the plus points that has emerged from this tournament is the solidity that the team has found in the batting order. Until things went awry in the final, the batters had performed exceptionally well. Abhishek Sharma, Travis Head and Heinrich Klaasen were the best of the lot and their presence will carry the team forward next year too.

In Pat Cummins, the Hyderabad outfit has found an able leader. He is a captain who can bring out the best from his players. In a T20 format where the pressure is extremely high and a small slip up can lead to complete disaster, his presence of mind will stand SRH in good stead for the future.

Why not Hyderabad players?

One aspect that SRH must look into is the induction of players from Hyderabad into the team. It is a shame that a team that carries the tag of Hyderabad does not have a single Hyderabad player in the lineup. The logical move would be to make a rule that every team must have a few local players. This is a matter that the IPL’s governing body should examine.

Chennai: Sunrisers Hyderabad’s captain Pat Cummins with teammates celebrates the wicket of Kolkata Knight Riders batter Sunil Narine during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 final cricket match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders at MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai, Sunday, May 26, 2024. (PTI Photo/R Senthilkumar)

The presence of a few Hyderabad players will bring in more local fans. It will also raise the team’s morale in difficult situations. Loyalty and fighting spirit cannot be bought by money. That passion for one’s team, and the willingness to make sacrifices, come from the emotions of belonging and identity. This is a factor that SRH must address in order to consolidate upon the gains that this IPL season has produced.

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