In the 13 seasons of the IPL, several teams have had a journey within the journey en route to doing well in the tournament.
The Rajasthan Royals reaching the playoffs in 2013 will always have the bragging rights for being the most emotional season, when they were within two games of winning the title after battling their way through the spot-fixing saga.
This surprised a lot of people, and punters who had placed money on RR unexpectedly reaching the playoffs won a lot of money through online betting.
While none of the teams has had to endure anything as difficult as that in the subsequent seasons, the Sunrisers Hyderabad went through a series of difficulties in the 2020 IPL season and yet managed to make it as far as the second qualifier.
In the opening match of the competition, Mitchell Marsh hobbled his way out of the tournament, then Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffered a hamstring injury and later Vijay Shankar was hit on the head, leading to three varying yet crucial casualties for the team.
Any other team would have found it hard to put together a succession of good performances after such setbacks, yet SRH found a way out and how.
Jason Holder came onboard as Marsh's replacement and what a difference maker he proved to be, particularly with the ball. Taking the new ball, the Barbadian struck vital blows for the team, thereby making him an inspirational addition to the team.
When needed, he made significant runs as well, winning SRH the game twice against RCB on two difficult surfaces, where while chasing a low score, the franchise needed the final push for victory and he delivered for them.
When Bhuvneshwar left the IPL, tremors went through the fan base over who would step up and come good for the team, in his absence. Enter T Natarajan, the little-known Salem-based cricketer, who did so well that by the end of the IPL, through a little fate, he had earned himself a national call-up.
If Bhuvneshwar's USP at the death were his variations, then Natarajan showed that he could bring the old-fashioned middle-stump yorker back in contention for being the most lethal weapon in the final overs of an innings, stringing together a streak of full-length deliveries that yielded many wickets.
With Shankar not featuring in the last leg of the tournament, SRH made a tactical change at the top of the order, benching Jonny Bairstow and playing Wriddhiman Saha as the wicket-keeper cum opener. What a decision it proved to be! If David Warner was the fire, then Saha proved to be ice, providing solidity for the franchise and setting up tight chases in the last phase of the group stage.
The word that describes SRH's performance this year very well is resilience. Whenever they found themselves on the back foot, the team found a way to rise above the difficulties and perform as a unit.
The credit for that must go to Warner as well, for putting confidence in some of the Indian players to show case their mettle. Natarajan aside, the likes of Sandeep Sharma, Abdul Samad etc also chipped in very well, performing their roles to the T.
Hopefully, next season, with a bit more fortune, SRH can go all the way and lift the title for the second time.
If you believe you have what it takes to predict the outcomes of cricket matches, then join one of the many cricket betting sites and get started today!