In an exclusive face-off against Criclytics, Cricket.com’s AI-driven prediction platform, legendary Brian Lara has made this bold prediction that Sunrisers Hyderabad will be lifting the IPL 2021 title.
In the IPL 2020, Sunrisers Hyderabad faltered in the backend of the tournament after surging into the play-offs. They would be eager to move two steps ahead this time after assembling a near-perfect squad that has the potential to cover for the weaknesses as well as back-ups. So much so that, Brian Lara has the 2016 Champions as his pick for this year’s championship run.
“Sunrisers struggled to fill up for Bhuvneshwar Kumar last time but he is back now, hopefully, he stays fit. I just like this outfit. They may not be a big team like Mumbai Indians but they have guys who are efficient and get the job done,” Lara said on Cricket.com’s Man vs Machine.
“I feel they have such players in all the departments of the team. They have players up front, in the middle, all-rounders as well as the fantastic Rashid Khan. I am going with SRH, and let me give a little idea - I am backing them to go them all the way.”
“First of all, in the batting department, the three guys up front (David Warner, Johnny Bairstow, and Jason Roy), they might not play at the same time. They are definite contenders there (for Orange Cap). A lot of teams will plan to play out Rashid Khan, so he might not win the Purple cap there. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, maybe (to win the Purple Cap),” he further explained when asked to pick his Orange Cap and Purple Cap contenders from the side.
Sunrisers Hyderabad will be taking on Kolkata Knight Riders this season, with both teams having a host of selection issues to deal with. Eoin Morgan will face the conundrum of whom to play between Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine but Lara is an undisputed fan of Narine, who, he feels, still has it in him to bowl as good as he has ever been.
“Narine has been tremendous. I remember in the last year, against CSK, where they needed 21 or 22 from the same amount of balls, he came back and bowled really well. He is a match-winner with the ball, I am not sure about the batting. Of course, a lot of teams have figured him out - they can bowl short, they can bowl at him and don’t give him room,” Lara added.
“Also it is a strange thing, I feel with the captaincy change and all, with Eoin Morgan coming in for Karthik. I think that was the spot (Morgan’s spot) that was up for grabs. With Russell, Cummins, and Ferguson already being sure starters, Morgan being captain closed one spot. I feel that could have been a little bit of a problem for them because one overseas spot would be exclusive,” the Trinidadian added.