Amid the controversies that enveloped IPL 6, the good run of Sunrisers Hyderabad was one of the bright spots of the tournament. They finished fourth and got a chance to play in the qualifiers that begin on Tuesday. Sunrisers along with Kandurata Maroons, Faisalabad Wolves and Otago Volts fight for the two places in the group stage.
The four teams are all well-balanced but Sunrisers, given their impressive line-up, have a good chance to be the fourth Indian team in the group stage. They have a new captain in Shikhar Dhawan. “I’m cool as well as an aggressive captain. I’m aggressive from inside and that’s what drives me,’’ he said.
“The captaincy will motivate him to perform better. He is a key player, as a leader and as an opening batsman. He returns to the ground where he made his brilliant Test debut. He has fond memories of this ground. Keeping the future in mind, the team will be built around Dhawan,” said Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the team’s mentor.
Dhawan has a team which has jelled very well. He has a formidable attack consisting of Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra and Thisara Perera. Dhawan would be hoping that the batting comes good. The presence of JP Duminy along with Darren Sammy would bring experience and solidity to the batting.
Kumar Sangakkara, who was with the Sunrisers during the IPL, will be playing for Kandurata. VVS Laxman, the Sunrisers mentor, said it would be interesting to see Sangakkara in the Lankan team. “He would surely know all the ins and outs of our team,” he said.
Kandurata have a fair sprinkle of Sri Lankan internationals like Lahiru Thirimanne (captain), Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis, Chamara Silva and Dhammika Prasad. Faisalabad Wolves will be strong contenders too. They have stars like Misbah-ul-Haq and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal. They take on Otago Volts. The New Zealand team has Brendon McCullum. Apart from him, Dutch batsman Ryan ten Doeschate and Hamish Rutherford can also be handy.