Our analysis on who can win the IPL 9 - the favourites and the dark horses

Our analysis on who can win the IPL 9 - the favourites and the dark horses

no photo


Image Courtesy: © Facebook - IPL

The Indian Premier League carnival is once again back in town. From April 9, eight franchises will embark on a 51-day journey to find the winner of the ninth edition. From defending champions Mumbai Indians to young-gun Delhi Daredevils, every team has a chance to lift the title on May 29.

In fact, from the defending champions Mumbai Indians to the newcomers Gujarat Lions and Rising Supergiants, every team looks strong – at least on paper. But do they? A deeper analysis of the teams and their strengths in the batting and bowling department reveals more and here are our picks for who seem the likely winners and losers as we head into IPL 2016.

Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, have unsurprisingly retained the core of their team and would make the top of any favourite list. However, CSK 2.0 or Rising Pune Supergiants, as they like to call themselves, have played both the initial draft and the auction like seasoned professionals and look stronger than Mumbai at present what with an enviable top order. Only RCB, which arguably has the best top-four in the world, seems a close competitor, at least on batting.

But Delhi Daredevils, who finished in the bottom quartile of the past three seasons, once again look set to form the rearguard. Despite spending the highest in the auction, they seem to have the weakest squad, but we hope their faith in youth comes through sometime in the near future, if not this year. For now, let's take a look at the batting and bowling ratings for each squad.

1. Mumbai Indians (Champions – 2015)

Batsmen: Rohit Sharma, Siddhesh Lad, Unmukt Chand, Ambati Rayudu, Nitish Rana, Lendl Simmons*

All-rounders: Kieron Pollard*, Corey Anderson*, Shreyas Gopal, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kishore Kamath, Deepak Punia, Jagadeesha Suchith

Wicket-keepers: Parthiv Patel, Jos Buttler*, Jitesh Sharma

Fast Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Vinay Kumar, Mitchell McClenaghan*, Marchant de Lange*, Lasith Malinga*, Tim Southee*, Nathu Singh

Spinners: Harbhajan Singh, Akshay Wakhare

The defending champions chose to retain 19 players before the auction, including the entire XI which took on CSK in the final. To the already beefed up line-up, MI have added English wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and Kiwi pacer Tim Southee.

The team looks the most settled and will once again be the favourites for the title. The luxury of having all-rounders of all kinds was a major reason for Mumbai’s title-winning run, and they have now added leg-spinning all-rounder Kishore Kamath, and left-arm spinner and handy middle-order batsman Krunal Pandya bringing, even more, variety.

Their weakness will be the absence of a top-order Indian batsman, who could replace Rohit Sharma, or Ambati Rayudu when needed. Also apart from Lendl Simmons, the team doesn’t have any foreigner, who could bat in the top-3, and the Caribbean's form will play a big part in Mumbai’s season.

The team could have signed Martin Guptill or Usman Khawaja for the opener spot, who went unsold in the auction, with one spot remaining in the roster.

Batting Points: 8.5

Bowling Points: 9

Likely XI: Simmons*, Parthiv (wk), Rohit (c), Rayudu, Pollard*, Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Suchith, McClenaghan*, Malinga*, Bumrah

* for overseas players

2. Royal Challengers Bangalore (Third -2015)

Batsmen: Virat Kohli, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Kedar Jadhav, Sachin Baby, KL Rahul, Chris Gayle*

All-rounders: David Wiese*, Shane Watson*, Stuart Binny, Akshay Karnewar, Praveen Dubey, Parvez Rasool

Wicket-keepers: AB de Villiers*, Travis Head*

Fast Bowlers: Varun Aaron, Abu Nechim, Harshal Patel, Adam Milne*, Mitchell Starc*, Kane Richardson*, Vikramjeet Malik, Vikas Tokas, Sreenath Aravind

Spinners: Yuzvendra Chahal, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla

RCB finished third last IPL after losing to CSK in the second qualifier. The team has always been top-heavy, and now with the addition of Watson to the trio of Gayle, Kohli and AB de Villiers, they should strike fear into any opening bowler. Their bowling also looks formidable with Starc, Richardson and Milne along with Indian pacers Varun Aaron, Harshal Patel and Sreenath Arvind.

All-rounders and spinners will once again be the problem areas for the Bengaluru team. David Wiese and Stuart Binny are good with the bat, but their contribution with the ball is questionable. With the Chinnaswamy stadium being a high-scoring ground, the team could have gone for a top-class all-rounder. They will now be banking on Shane Watson to deliver with both bat and ball, but it could prove too much for the Aussie, who just returned to form in the India series.

Chahal, Badree, Rasool and Abdulla are good spinners, but none of them can be called a match-winner. An experienced India spinner would have provided Kohli with much better variety. They also lack top-quality backups for their big top-order.

Pragyan Ojha, who went unsold in the auction, could have been a decent addition to the team with two slots remaining in the roster.

Batting Points: 9.25

Bowling Points: 8.25

Likely XI: Gayle*, Watson*, Kohli (c), De Villers*, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Sarfraz Khan, Binny, Chahal, Aaron, Aravind, Starc*

3. Kolkata Knight Riders (Fifth – 2015)

Batsmen: Gambhir, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Chris Lynn*

All-rounders: Andre Russell*, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan*, John Hastings*, Jason Holder*, Rajagopal Sathish, Manan Sharma, Colin Munro*

Wicket-keepers: Robin Uthappa, Sheldon Jackson

Fast Bowlers: Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Rajpoot, Morne Morkel*

Spinners: Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine*, Brad Hogg*

The two-time IPL champions finished outside the play-offs last season. But the management has kept faith in them and retained 15 players. Even in the auction, the Kolkata side just bid for back-up players and opted out of the spend-fest using just Rs.5.7 crore in the auction, which saw a total of Rs.136 crore being spent.

Spin was KKR's strength in their title-winning season, and, this time, around also the fortunes will be dependent on Sunil Narine’s performance. The arrival of John Hastings and Jason Holder also gives KKR more options in the all-rounders department.

KKR’s struggles away from home have been down to the inability of their pace bowlers, and it doesn’t look rectified with only Umesh Yadav, Unadkat and Rajpoot in the team as Indian pacers. The lack of quality back-up options in the top order will also cause problems to the team in case of an injury.

Bengal's Ranji captain Manoj Tiwary, who went unsold, could have been a valuable addition to the middle order as a back-up.

Batting Points: 8.25

Bowling Points: 8.75

Likely XI: Gambhir (c), Uthappa (wk), Pandey, Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan*, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell*, Chawla, Narine*, Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel

4. Sunrisers Hyderabad (Sixth -2015)

Batsmen: Dhawan, Warner*, Eoin Morgan*, Kane Williamson*, Ricky Bhui, Tirumalasetti Suman

All-rounders: Ashish Reddy, Moises Henriques*, Yuvraj Singh, Deepak Hooda, Vijay Shankar,

Wicket-keepers: Naman Ojha, Aditya Tare

Fast Bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, A Nehra, Barinder Sran, Trent Boult*, Mustafizur Rahman*, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ben Cutting*

Spinners: Karn Sharma, Bipul Sharma

The Hyderabad team finished sixth last season and said goodbye to their pace spearheads Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma. In come, Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra from India’s World T20 squad. The team looks much stronger, this time, around, and in fact, have an embarrassment of riches in the fast-bowling department with Nehra, Bhuvneshwar, Boult, Muztafizur and Sran in addition to Siddarth Kaul and Abhimanyu Mithun. The middle order also looks much better with Yuvraj Singh's arrival, giving them the much-needed Indian presence in the middle overs. The spin department looks a bit weak though with only Karn Sharma and Bipul Sharma.

Pragyan Ojha, who has taken 36 wickets so far in the Ranji Season, could have been a good addition to the team.

Batting Points: 8.75

Bowling Points: 8.5

Likely XI: Dhawan, Warner* (c), Morgan*, Yuvraj, Ojha (wk), Henriques*, Bipul Sharma, Karn, Bhuvneshwar, Nehra, Boult*

5. Delhi Daredevils (Seventh -2015)

Batsmen: Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Karun Nair, JP Duminy*

All-rounders: Jayant Yadav, Chris Morris*, Pawan Negi, Akhil Herwadkar, Mahipal Lomror, Carlos Brathwaite*

Wicket-keepers: Quinton de Kock*, Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant, Sam Billings*

Fast Bowlers: Mohammed Shami, Nathan Coulter-Nile*, Zaheer Khan, Joel Paris*, Pawan Suyal, Chama Milind, Khaleel Ahmed

Spinners: Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Imran Tahir*, Pratyush Singh

After finishing near the bottom of the table, Delhi Daredevils went for a “Gen-Next” approach releasing high-profile stars like Yuvraj Singh and bidding huge amounts for youngsters like Pawan Negi, Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant. 

(Also Read: IPL auction 2016: The unheard and the untested, who stole the show)

Their tactics to go for unproven and untested youngsters instead of high-profile stars may help them in the long run, although their chances for this season look bleak. The lack of high-profile or marquee stars is the only problem area for the Delhi team. They have enough options in all positions after buying voraciously in the auction.

Batting Points: 7.75

Bowling Points: 8.25

Likely XI: Quinton de Kock* (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, JP Duminy* (c),Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Carlos Brathwaite*, Chris Morris *, Pawan Negi, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami

6. Kings XI Punjab (Eighth -2015)

Batsmen: Manan Vohra, Murali Vijay, Shaun Marsh*, David Miller*, Nikhil Naik, Armaan Jaffer

All-rounders: Rishi Dhawan, Axar Patel, Glenn Maxwell*, Farhaan Behardien*, Marcus Stoinis*, Pardeep Sahu, Gurkeerat Singh

Wicket-keepers: Wriddhiman Saha

Fast Bowlers: Mitchell Johnson*, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Kyle Abbott*

Spinners: KC Cariappa, Swapnil Singh

The 2014 runners-up finished bottom of the table last season and axed captain George Bailey. The punters predicted Kings XI going for a marquee player like Shane Watson or Aaron Finch to captain their side, but their biggest purchase has been Indian pacer Mohit Sharma for Rs. 6.5 crore.

The biggest problem for the team will be the captain, with no player standing out as captaincy material. Quality back-ups for Maxwell, Miller and Marsh are also missing from the roster. The form of the Australian trio of Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell and Shaun Marsh will decide the fortunes of the team.

A good quality spinner to partner Axar Patel could have helped in the balance of the team. Kings XI also doesn’t have a back-up for wicketkeeper Saha.

Micheal Hussey, who went unsold in the auction, could have been a good option as a captain and an opener to the team.

Batting Points: 8.5

Bowling Points: 8.25

Likely XI: Vijay, Shaun Marsh*, Saha (wk), Maxwell*, Miller*, Gurkeerat, Axar Patel, Rishi Dhawan, Mitchell Johnson*, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma

7. Gujarat Lions

Batsmen: Suresh Raina, Aaron Finch*, Paras Dogra, Umang Sharma, Jaydev Shah, Akshdeep Nath

All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo*, James Faulkner*, Dwayne Smith*

Wicket-keepers: Brendon McCullum*, Dinesh Karthik, Eklavya Dwivedi, Ishan Kishan

Fast Bowlers: Dale Steyn*, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Andrew Tye*, Pradeep Sangwan, Amit Mishra

Spinners: Pravin Tambe, Sarabjit Ladda, Shadab Jakati, ShivilKaushik

The newcomers did really well in the IPL draft, that took place in December, by picking Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo and James Faulkner. With a strong T20 core in hand, the Rajkot-based franchise added 19 more players in the auction to string up a respectable squad.

Brendon McCullum-Aaron Finch look deadly at the top, with the team having the luxury of Dwayne Smith on the bench. Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Bravo and Ishan Kishan will form the rest of the middle order. Ravindra Jadeja and James Faulkner will boost the lower-order.

The lack of good Indian back-up batsmen will force the team to play India U-19 captain Ishan Kishan in the line-up. Also, the bowling line-up of the team does not look as threatening as their batting line-up, but Shivil Kaushik, who has an unorthodox action, could prove to be a game-changer for the Rajkot team.

Indian batsmen Manoj Tiwary, Ishank Jaggi and Rohan Prem, who had good performances in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, could have been good back-ups to the high-profile stars.

Batting Points: 8.75

Bowling Points: 8.25

Likely XI: Finch, McCullum, Raina (c), Karthik (wk), Dwayene Bravo, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Tambe

8. Rising Pune Supergiants

Batsmen: Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen*, Steve Smith*, Faf du Plessis*, Baba Aparajith, Saurabh Tiwary

All-rounders: Irfan Pathan, Mitchell Marsh*, Thisara Perera*, Rajat Bhatia, Albie Morkel*

Wicket-keepers: MS Dhoni, Ankush Bains, Peter Handscomb*

Fast Bowlers: Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Ashok Dinda, Scott Boland*, Ishwar Pandey, Deepak Chahar, Jaskaran Singh

Spinners: R Ashwin, M Ashwin, Ankit Sharma, Adam Zampa*

Rising Pune Supergiants has MSD captain and Stephen Fleming as coach. The similarity with CSK doesn’t end there, and they have inherited the same problem CSK had – the fast bowling. Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Ishwar Pandey and Ashok Dinda are the Indian pacers for the Pune side, and none of them have gathered acclaim for their death bowling. Scott Boland is the overseas option apart from all-rounders Irfan Pathan, Albie Morkel and Mitchell Marsh.

But on the batting front, everything looks perfect with the ever-reliable Ajinkya Rahane and Kevin Pietersen at the top. The T20 captains of Australia, South Africa and India follow them in order before the arrival of Mitchell Marsh and Irfan Pathan at six and seven. R Ashwin and M Ashwin will be the spin bowling options in the team with Ishant Sharma and Ishwar Pandey opening the bowling.

Batting Points: 9.25

Bowling Points: 8.5

Likely XI: Rahane, Pietersen*, Smith*, du Plessis*, Dhoni (wk & c), Mitchell Marsh*, Irfan Pathan, R Ashwin, M Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ishwar Pandey 

(Also Read: From IPL to PWL: A country of Leagues)

Get updates! Follow us on

    Open all