The biggest cricketing league is just a few months away. The Indian Premier League has entered into its 2nd decade and the mega-auction was on which world was talking about. The cricketers around the globe went under the hammer and we finally have the squad which will represent IPL franchises.
Kings Xl Punjab
The Punjabi outfit has not fared really well over the seasons of the IPL. After being Semi-Finalists in the inaugural edition, it was only in 2014 when they had a dream run to finish runners-up. The franchise looked really determined at the auctions to win their maiden campaign this season, making some pretty good signings after retaining only Axar Patel. Their strength lies in the top batting order comprising of the destructive Chris Gayle, one of the world’s best openers David Miller, KL Rahul, Manoj Tiwari, and Yuvraj Singh.
Marcus Stoinis will play an important role for them as he is known for his sheer hitting late in the innings and also his ability to take crucial wickets. In the Spin bowling department, Ashwin and Axar Patel make up for a strong combination. But their pace department seems to be a concern due to the lack of game-changers. Overall, the team looks pretty decent and their chances to make it to the playoffs will depend on their bowling.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The two-time Champions have put up a solid combination in all areas, and look like one of the teams to beat. Having roped in both the U19 star pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi with international pacers like Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Vinay Kumar, their bowling looks set. Not to forget, they have the spin wizard Sunil Narine, who holds the record for scoring the fastest 50(15 balls).
Kamlesh Nagarkoti too can be a handy batsman and has a pretty decent domestic batting record. They have also retained the hard-hitting Andre Russell who was their highest wicket-taker in 2016. With Dinesh Karthik and Robin being the takers for the wicketkeeper slot, Robin Uthappa is likely to play as a specialist batsman, with the hard-hitting Chris Lynn to partner him. Their area of concern will be the middle order with no big names in there. A lot will depend on the openers to give them a solid start and the all-rounders will have to hit cameos to push up the total.
With a very strong top order and good in the other areas, Sunrisers Hyderabad is arguably the most balanced side this season in the IPL. With two proven openers David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan, followed by the stylish Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson, this is one of the best top orders among all the teams.
They also have one of the world’s best all-rounders, Shakib Al Hasan. Yusuf Pathan will be hungry to prove his worth. After being one of the most feared all-rounders in the history of the IPL, the hard-hitting Baroda player has been just a shadow of himself off late.
In the bowling department, they bought back Rashid Khan through RTM and with one of India’s best pacer, Bhuvaneswar Kumar to spearhead the attack, supported by IPL proven Sandeep Sharma and Basil Thampi, their bowling looks deadly. It’s really difficult to find an area of concern in this squad and may well emerge Champions for the 2nd time in three years
Royal Challengers Bangalore
In spite of having a very strong team over the seasons, RCB has been one of the most inconsistent teams in the IPL. The 3-time runners-up finished bottom last season, and they will be hungry to do justice to their loyal fans.
With Chris Gayle not in the squad, RCB will have to find the right balance between bat and ball. Gayle was the most important factors in their run to the last two IPL finals. With two of their most important players, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers; and young all-rounder Sarfaraz Khan surprisingly retained, RCB were slow to pick players at the auction but had their plan set as they got themselves busy towards the end. Their depth in the batting order is really good, which was not the case in the previous seasons where they were over dependant on Chris Gayle.
Their major focus was on getting all-rounders, which they managed to do. Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme can all contribute with both bat and ball. They’ve bought pretty good fast bowlers, interestingly, all the KKR bowlers who bowled them out for a partly 49. Mohammad Siraj was impressive last season with SRH where he managed to pick up 10 wickets in just 6 matches, with best figures of 4/32.
They have a just 1-star spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal and a few other domestic first-class players. Overall, RCB looks well balanced, but they have a history of choking at the end of a good season. If they avoid that, then they can fancy themselves.
If we compare the other teams this season, Rajasthan Royals do not have too many star names in their squad. Of course, they have the most expensive player this season; Ben Stokes and also retained Steve Smith. They broke the bank for Jaydev Unadkat and bought Dhawal Kulkarni, who played just 6 matches last season. Ben Laughlin to has very few IPL Matches to his name.
Rajasthan is known for their ability to produce star and we will not be surprised if we get some unknown players doing wonders in the Rajasthan Royals Colors. Mahipal Lomoror will be a local lad which you should keep eye on, He is known as litle Chris Gayle. The Hard Hitting teenager has grown his stature in the domestic cricket and will look to set IPL on fire.
Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have been the most consistent teams in the history of the IPL mainly due to the core of the team being intact. This season too, Rohit, the Pandya brothers, Kieron Pollard, Jasprit Bumrah have been retained, and some excellent reinforcements have been made. JP Duminy is a proven T20 player, and Mustafizur Rahman is young with a lot of potentials.
Pat Cummins was excellent last season with Delhi Daredevils. Ben Cutting and Elvin Lewis do not have enough IPL experience but have proved themselves in the Big Bash and Caribbean T20 respectively.
Their buys among the uncapped Indian players too was spot on. With this team, Mumbai is surely one of the favourites to win the IPL this season.
Chennai Super Kings
After retaining MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Faf Du Plessis, CSK got back their former players Murali Vijay and fan favourite Dwayne Bravo. Although they let Ashwin go, they roped in Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh. Among the bowlers, they have Lungi Ngidi and Mark Wood, who has a great international record. They also have Suresh Raina back and the high worth Karn Sharma.
Shane Watson, who has been reshaping his career by playing in various T20 leagues around the world, will be an icing on the cake for this destructive looking team. They have the oldest squad in the league but the experience it carries will certainly make them a formidable side in the Indian Premier League.
After a long time, we seeing a strong Delhi Daredevils team. They yo yo boys of the Indian Premier League had retained like of Shreyesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Chris Morris. The biggest coup will be Delhi favourite Gautham Gambhir, this will be the 2nd time Gambhir will be playing for his local franchise in the Indian Premier League. With him in the team, Delhi have a leader who can lead the team with great intensity.
Delhi has assembled a well-balanced squad, there is a potent replacement for every position if needed. The Delhi fans should hope for a good performance from this Delhi Squad.
On paper, Mumbai Indians or Chennai Super Kings are expected to emerge, winners, this season. Sunrisers Hyderabad too, is one of the favourites. The last remaining playoff spot will be a close fight between RCB, KXIP, KKR and Delhi Daredevils. Rajasthan Royals look to be the weaker among all the 8 teams. IPL is the toughest T20 league in the world where almost all the world’s best players participate. So good backup in all departments is a must. CSK and Mumbai Indians have all that is needed, which makes them the favourites to win the title this season…!!