And just like that, the IPL auction is over and the teams have finalised their squad lists in what is going to be the first in the new decade of the IPL. With a host of players to choose from, we consciously tried to form the possible starting XI for each team and the role they are going to perform.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Probable Starting XI: Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Mitchell Starc, Shivam Mavi, Vinay Kumar
Though Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) team looks as underwhelming as ever on the card, the two-time IPL champions have always weaved their squad around the perfect balance of experience, youth and superstars. This squad is no different with youngsters like Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi blending with the likes of Chris Lynn, Mitchell Starc and Andre Russell. The light on batting squad has cleverly kept some very consistent and safe options at the right places- Lynn to explode up top, Uthappa and Karthik to stabilize innings in the middle, and Narine, Russell and Starc to speed up runs at the end.
Of course, I, like many, feel that the side hasn’t really replaced the likes of Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey, who shouldered a lot of responsibility for the side on previous seasons. But then, KKR have always been a bowling rich side who hardly saw big targets as a regular occurrence. In the likes of Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Mitchell Starc, KKR
Team Ratings: 6.5/10
Chennai Super Kings:
I am still trying to figure out what Stephen Fleming and co were thinking during the auction. While the team can easily pass as the weakest team on the paper, they would just be happy that they were successful in getting their core team back.
On the new team, Billings and du Plessis are expected to open the innings with Raina and Jadhav to follow. With Bravo, the team has a good medium pace bowler to bank on in the middle overs, and can hardly afford a bad day for Lungi Ngidi and Shardul Thakur. While MS Dhoni has always been lethal behind the stumps, he hardly the match-winner that Chennai fans fell in love with and will seriously need the top-order to dictate terms. Jadeja has been a legend for CSK in previous seasons and will also spearhead the spin unit, with Harbhajan, who turned out to be an absolute steal at his base price. While it is understandable that the
Team Ratings: 4.5/10
Royal Challengers Bangalore:
De Kock, Kohli, ABD at the top and what else do you need? The terrific trio will get the help of Manan Vohra and Sarfraz Khan, who have been brilliant in the league in the last editions. To top that all, the Bangalore-based franchise has Washington Sundar, Chris Woakes and Nathan Coulter-Nile to unleash some down-the-order fireworks. With Chinnaswamy being a small arena and the crowds going "RRRR CCCC BBB" at the top of their lungs, the team will surely come out on top as far as batting is concerned.
While the batting has actually been the best in the league for the longest time, they finally managed to secure a very good bowling unit this year with Umesh Yadav leading the pack. Yadav will have Coulter-Nile, Woakes, and Navdeep Saini in the pace-bowling unit while Yuzvendra Chahal, alongside Sundar, will take care of the spin-bowling unit and that makes the franchise arguably the “Best team on the paper” and if they will fail to win the title this year, well there is always a next year!
Team Rating: 8/10
Kings XI Punjab:
After raising the paddle for almost every player who was on for bidding on Day 1, I will take the Kings XI Punjab as one of the disappointments at the auction. Still, they fought hard and managed to put up a team that can compete with anyone on their day. The team need Finch and Rahul to unleash their fireworks from the word go because neither Nair or Yuvraj have been known for their flair lately. Manoj Tiwary and Miller turned out to be absolute steals and the duo can guide the team to a good total with a good base laid on.
Stonis and Ashwin know how to give
Team Rating: 7/10
This team could have been stacked with better players but what Aakash Ambani and co. managed to buy at the auction is no less a potential champion team. With Rohit and Lewis to open the innings, the oppositions can only count their luck cause once the duo gets going they can just be the most devastating duo in the world. However, their middle-order doesn’t paint a usual menacing picture as Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav, and Kieron Pollard will take charge of the same. The presence of Pandya brothers, however, will be the biggest boost for the franchise in the small Wankhede arena and the team will be safe if they fire on all cylinders.
If the batting fails, they still have a very good bowling line-up even to defend a small total. Jasprit Bumrah knows the Wankhede more than anyone else and will be a force to be reckoned with – with both new ball and death overs. Jason Behrendorff, who pinned India to the mat in the Guwahati T20I, has very good pace in his arsenal to trouble the opposition and don’t be surprised if he gives a neck-to-neck competition to Bumrah. And he has none other than Cummins to support him. What a combination for the defending champs!
Team Rating: 7/10
Can arguably be called as one of the title contenders of the season. After retaining Bhuvneshwar Kumar and David Warner, the franchise was successful in putting together a fine supporting cast at the top and a brilliant blend of youth and experience in the bowling line up to defend the totals. With Dhawan and Warner as the opener, Pandey, Williamson, and Pathan have the ability to provide fireworks so as to maintain their consistent performances in the league. The 2016 champions have a safe pair of hands with Wriddhiman Saha and he will double up as a pure batsman with Shakib al Hassan – in case the top-order fails.
Recently, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has shown was he has been capable up and will take the position of Ashish Nehra as the bowling spearhead of the franchise. Bhuvi, currently the best new ball and death-ball specialist in world cricket, will have Siddharth Kaul and Basil Thampi for support in the pace-bowling attack and the ever-so-impressive Rashid Khan to carry on their spin resources.
Team Ratings: 8/10
Look at the top order and imagine their fortune. Royals, who returned after two years of the ban from the league, got a top order worth devastating on any day. Opener Jos Buttler can blow any opposition attack to smithereens on the flatbeds of Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur and Tripathi, for all his momentum from the last season make for a great pair for the Royals. With a more sedate duo of Steve Smith and Rahane to follow, the openers can easily take the risk of going for big shots. It is expected that Samson’s wicket-keeping services will not be required this season due to the presence of Buttler, but that will allow Samson to bat with more conviction the way he did last year for Delhi Daredevils.
Then comes the man of the moment – but literally and controversially. Ben Stokes may not have much representative cricket for last five months, but that doesn’t justify the maniac that surrounds him. On the day, Stokes get going, Royals will be assured. Stokes will have the support cast in Unadkat, Archer, Kulkarni and Anureet. With Gowtham, Royals’ big money signing in the lineup, it will be a shame if Royals fail to go all the way to glory.
Team Rating: 7.5/10
Delhi Daredevils have always come up with a renewed cast every year, but that hardly changed their fortunes in the league. This time though, with a proven captain at the helm and the world’s No.1 T20 batsman opening, the franchise can hope at least. The team also have some of the country’s finest talents in the form of Iyer, Pant, Naman Ojha to form their batting order and the dangerous Maxwell and Morris will add the runs as the bonus.
However, the team managed to secure Trent Boult with a minuscule amount of 2.2
Team Rating: 7.5/10
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