David Warner Shikhar Dhawan SRH
The opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner will be key for SRHRon Gaunt/IPL/Sportzpics

The Sunrisers Hyderabad, despite having some seriously good talent in their ranks, are a team that haven't quite been able to hit their heights in IPL cricket, even if the team in the current form has only existed for about two years.

Having taken over from the Deccan Chargers, the new Hyderabad franchise were left with a few outstanding talents, but with several holes to fill as well.

The Sunrisers management did reasonably enough to fill in those holes in their first two IPL auctions, but apart from falling at the first hurdle in the playoffs of IPL 2013, not much impression has been made.

Having made a few eyebrow-raising cuts following the IPL 2014 season, including letting Aaron Finch, Darren Sammy and Amit Mishra go, SRH had plenty of moves to make in the IPL 2015 auction if they were to be competitive.

Make them they did, bringing in the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Kane Williamson, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Trent Boult, the joint-leading wicket-taker in the World Cup, to bolster a squad that already had David Warner, the new skipper, Dale Steyn, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and L Rahul.

Pietersen, though, will not be involved with the Sunrisers this season, or at least not until the playoffs, leaving SRH without a key player, but they do have enough batting firepower to make up for the right-hander's absence.

Much will also depend on how Warner responds to captaincy in such a high-profile tournament. Being given the freedom to go out there and tonk as many balls to the boundary as possible is one thing, but with captaincy comes big responsibility and pressure will inevitably fall on the Australian's shoulders if he gets out a couple of times playing loose shots.

So, how he reigns in that penchant to give his wicket away, while ensuring the aggressiveness remains, will be key, and his opening partner at the other end – Dhawan – will have a big say in how Warner plays.

If Dhawan finds that fluency and flawless stroke-making often enough, it will help take the pressure off Warner, while the solidity of a Kane Williamson at No.3, or even the excellent Rahul, should also give the two openers a lot of comfort.

With only four overseas players allowed in the side, and Warner and Steyn definite inclusions, there are only two spots for the likes of Williamson, Morgan, Bopara, Boult and Moises Henriques to fill, and coach Tom Moody will do well to identify his best lineup and stick with it for the first few games.

SRH will also hope Ishant Sharma is fit and raring to go after missing the World Cup through injury, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be desperate to show his worth with the ball again, having fallen down the pecking order in the India lineup. In Karn Sharma and Parveez Rasool, Sunrisers have two good spin bowling options as well, which gives them the option of putting out a team according to the nature of the wicket – not that the pitch will be anything other than seriously batting-friendly, irrespective of the grounds.

Key player(s): The Warner-Dhawan combo, if on fire, can rip any bowling lineup to shreds. It will also be interesting to see if SRH start with the potentially lethal bowling lineup of Boult and Steyn.

Get the Full SRH Squad HERE

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