A look into strength, weakness and best eleven of IPL franchises
IPL 2020 is all set to begin from September 19 in UAE and the temperature has reached an all-time-high. The inaugural match of the 13th season will be played between defending champions, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at Abu Dhabi. Teams have prepared themselves for a different condition, as all the matches will be played on 3 grounds only- Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai, and Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah. Experts have said that spinners are set to play an important role in this season of IPL as the pitches will get older and benefit spinners. They have also asked us to expect low or average scoring matches and the par score could be 150 to 160. Just before the IPL kicks in, here is a quick analysis of all the teams.
1. Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians, owned by Mukesh Ambani, is the most successful franchise in the history of IPL with 4 trophies in their cabinet. The biggest strength of Mumbai Indians are the quality in all-rounders cabinet and a great pace attack. With Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, and Kerion Pollard in the team, finishing a match has never been a problem. The pace attack of Jasprit Bumrah, James Pattinson, Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan, and Nathan Coulter-Nile gives them way too much of an option. However, Mumbai Indians might lack in the spin department as they have just Jayant Yadav, Rahul Chahar, and Krunal Pandya as options.
Best Eleven: Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Surya Kumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Keiron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan.
2. Chennai Super Kings
The most consistent side of IPL is Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings. They have played 10 IPL seasons and reached finals – 8 times, winning 3 titles. The biggest strength of CSK is that they back their players and retain the core players in the team. Also, they have many all-rounders in their team – Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Mitchell Santner, and Sam Curran. With Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh opting-out from the league, the CSK might face a challenge in finding the right combination. Their pace department doesn’t have that firepower.
Best Eleven: Shane Watson, Murali Vijay, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir/Lungi Ngidi.
3. Delhi Capitals
If you look at the player’s names in the Delhi Capitals squad, you will find many Indian players who are currently playing International cricket- Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin. This team has all the potential to win this tournament with the kind of bench strength they have. The spin trio of Amit Mishra, Axar Patel and Sandeep Lamichhane brings variety in the bowling department. However, the biggest challenge for the team would be to accommodate all the players in the team.
Best Eleven: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, and Sandeep Lamichhane.
4. Kolkata Knight Riders
This team is the most unpredictable team in this year’s IPL as it has some match-winning players like Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and Eoin Morgan. The third most successful franchise team would look to make most of Russell in this season. The team is a good mixture of young talent and experienced players like Shubhman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Rinku Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan and Pat Cummins. However, death bowling remains the concern for KKR despite roping in Pat Cummins. The fitness issue of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine is also a big concern for the team.
Best Eleven: Shubhman Gill, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna.
5. Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers is one team which has believed that batsmen win you matches and bowlers win you tournaments. They have always invested in bowling better than batting and it has paid off several times. The opening combination of David Warner-Jonny Bairstow and bowling of Rashid Khan is the biggest strength of the team. The problem for Hyderabad is to accommodate Kane Williamson in the playing eleven. If they play with Williamson, they have to drop Mohammad Nabi, which makes their spin weak. Their pace bowling also looks vulnerable this year in the absence of Trent Boult.
Best Eleven: Jonny Bairstow, David Warner, Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Virat Singh, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Shahbaz Nadeem/Siddharth Kaul.
6. Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB is one of the most popular teams in the IPL, courtesy to its big explosive players- Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Aaron Finch, Moeen Ali, and Yuzvendra Chahal. They have always been a battling-loaded side and lacked quality death bowling. This year won’t be different for them as they will face the same problem again despite having Dale Steyn and Chris Morris in the team. Their strength lies in the duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Best Eleven: Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Chris Morris/Dale Steyn, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, and Umesh Yadav.
7. King’s Eleven Punjab
King’s Eleven Punjab will aim for their maiden title this season in the leadership of KL Rahul. The team combination looks average and doesn’t seem to give hopes to fans to make it in the playoffs. The biggest strength of the team is the form of KL Rahul and Glenn Maxwell. If these two keep firing, Punjab can make their way into the final four. Inexperience in battling depth can be a problem for the team in the close matches and crunch situations.
Best Eleven: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, K Gowtham, Mohammad Shami, Sheldon Cottrell, Ravi Bishnoi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
8. Rajasthan Royals
Known as an underdog, Rajasthan Royals will enter the 13th season on IPL in the leadership of Steve Smith. The biggest strength of the team is good foreign players in the team- Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jofra Archer and David Miller. Their weakness is bowling as there is no one other than Archer to stop the flow of runs in the death overs. Rajasthan’s team is a good combination of impact foreign players and good young Indian players.
Best Eleven: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Robin Uthappa, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande.
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