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A Review of the 8 Teams From IPL 8

April 7, 2015

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The thrilling T20 nights are back. 8 teams comprising of the Indian players and players from 8 different overseas nations will be battling for one title – IPL 8. Although it hasn’t been 8 years since I started writing blogs, but surely it’s about a half of 8. Today as I look back to those days, I wonder how could not I manage to write even a single post on such a tournament which I have followed ever so closely, ball by ball at times, and always had something to say about this. But now as another electrifying season of IPL is at the doorstep here I am to present you the snapshots of all the 8 teams participating in IPL 8.


IPL-8-Delhi-Daredevils-Jersey-2015-New-Logo-Team-Squad-Images-HD-Wallpapers-1

Best Performance: 2009 – 3rd, 2012 – 3rd

Last Season Position: 8th

Overview of the past performances: The team is still searching for its first taste of real success. They qualified to the knockout stage 3 times before, out of which 2 times as the table toppers, but when it mattered the most the failed to deliver the goods. The last two seasons were nightmarish for them as they ended up at the bottom of the table.

Important changes for this season: The most expensive player for two successive years Yuvraj Singh now will be eyeing the IPL platform to make a comeback in the national team. He blossomed under Gary Kirsten in the past. DD will be hoping that the same combination will turn the corner for them. Also the Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews and Amit Mishra, one of the star spinners of IPL will have big roles to play.

Strongest XI: Quinton De Kock, Manoj TIwary, Yuvraj Singh, JP Duminy, Angelo Mathews, Kedar Jadhav, CM Gautam, Md Shami, Zaheer Khan, Imran Tahir, Amit Mishra.

Bench strength: As the team have pretty handy part time spinners in form of Duminy and Yuvraj, not sure how much of opportunity will Shehbaz Nadeem have. But on their trips to Kolkata or Chennai they may think about playing a spin trio, whereas that of for Rajastan they may have a go with the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile or Gurinder Sandhu.

Matter of concern:

  • Batting at the top 3 positions, as most of the batsmen are specialist middle orders.
  • The patchy form of Quinton De Kock and the lack of any other experienced opener.

Team Rating: 7.9/10


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Best Performance: 2009 – Runners up, 2011 – Runners up

Last Season Position: 7th

Overview of the past performances: Having played two IPL and one CLT20 finals RCB are yet to find a way towards their first ever trophy. They have always carried the reputation of being a deadly side on their day. But they will be extremely disappointed with the way they performed over the last 3 seasons. The main problem for them has been that they have never tried to construct a balanced squad, rather they have relied on 3 or 4 heavyweights to take them through. It takes team game to win the big games, an area which has often let them down.

Important changes for this season: I don’t see too many effective changes from their last year’s team. The incoming Dinesh Karthik and Darren Sammy do not contribute much to the overall team balance.

Strongest XI: Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh/Rilee Rossouw, Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Dinesh Karthik, Darren Sammy/S.Badrinath, Mitchel Starc, Yuzivendra Chahal, Varun Aaron, Iqbal Abdullah, Ashok Dinda.

Bench strength: The reserve bench has the names like Adam Milne and Sean Abbott. But having said that one can play only 4 overseas players it’s hard to see them in the playing XI. There are not too many options for choosing the Indian players too. It is hard to say that RCB have the strongest of reserve benches.

Matter of concern:

  • Lack of balance in the team.
  • If 3 of the top 4 batsmen fail nobody is really there to steady the ship at the lower middle order (considering Badrinath’s recent performance).
  • Taking out Mitchel Starc will leave you searching for the reliable names in the RCB bowling line up.

Team Rating: 8.1/10


Sunrisers-Logo_0

Best Performance: 2009 – Champion (Deccan Chargers Hyderabad)

Last Season Position: 6th

Overview of the past performances: Nothing much since the Hyderabad franchise won the IPL 2. They have only managed to rank 4th twice in the later editions of the tournament. It is a team that has mostly ended their campaign at the lower half of the table as they did in the last year too, still considered a tough team to beat at home. They generally prefer batting first and putting runs on the board and have believed that they can restrict their opponents to a lower score than theirs.

Important changes for this season: In this year’s auction SRH went for England’s T20 specialists Morgan, Pietersen and Bopara. We all know what they can do in the shorter format of the game. But still I think they would be quite happy play their fresh kiwi duo Kane Williamson and Trent Boult. Having said that they have always relied on their bowling I can’t see Trent Boult to sit out. Williamson on the other hand is likely to have an upper hand over the English batsmen considering recent form.

Strongest XI: Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Kane Williamson, Lokesh Rahul, Hanuma Vihari, Naman Ojha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dale Steyn, Karn Sharma, Trent Boult, Parvez Rasool.

Bench strength: Many a few options to choose between the overseas players. Apart from the 3 Englishmen Moises Henriques is also a very good utility all-rounder.

Matter of concern:

  • Batting has never been the strength of SRH. The lower middle order doesn’t have big names in this team too. Of course they can put one of the overseas players in that place, but initially it will be a tough call to drop any of the 4 overseas players whom I picked.
  • The team has heavily depended on Dale Steyn in the past. But keeping his current form in mind they may not feel comfortable.

Team Rating: 7.6/10


Rajasthan-Royals-team

Best Performance: 2008 – Champion

Last Season Position: 5th

Overview of the past performances: Although the maiden champions of IPL have made to the top 4 only twice, they have been impressive with the approach towards the game. They never had the biggest of names in their team. To the number of players they have given break is incredible. They don’t buy the stars but surely they have a lot to do with the creation of future stars. In the upcoming IPL too RR will be one of the teams to watch out for.

Important changes for this season: No real change.

Strongest XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, James Faulkner, Rajat Bhatia, Tim Southee, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Tambe.

Bench strength: I am not sure how much of experiment is needed over the team I have picked. But when it comes to RR they have always had some or other surprises to pull out of their sleeves. They do have a bunch of exciting talents and they will be tested sooner or later in the tournament.

Matter of concern:

  • Shane Watson, the skipper, has been a fantastic IPL performer right from the first season. It is very important for his team how he plays. But right now he is nowhere near to his form a couple of years ago.
  • Whenever someone like Samson is retained it means the team is expecting you to play as a matured player, rather than hitting a couple of beautiful sixes and getting out. So now it will be a big task for him to convert his talent into consistent runs. Not only he, but also the other youngsters of the team got to be consistent.

Team Rating: 7.9/10


Mumbai-Indians-logo-wallpaperBest Performance: 2013 – Champion

Last Season Position: 4th

Overview of the past performances: Easily one of the two most consistent teams of all the IPL seasons. 5 out of 7 times they made to the knockout stages, in the process got their tickets to Champions League T20 and won 2 of them. MI finally found the formula to win the IPL two years ago. But somehow they will feel that the way they played, they could have had even more. With this note they once again come out with a mission. Last year they had a miserable start to the tournament, but what a comeback they made! It is looking a better team from that of a year ago and they will surely fancy their chances.

Important changes for this season: Ricky Ponting has been a great mentor to this team. Now as he is appointed as the head coach he will have the authority to run this team in his way. Shane Bond, the new bowling coach is likely to have a huge impact on the bowlers who have looked off colored in recent times. MI will hope that these two bring out the bests from their countrymen – Aaron Finch and Corey Anderson respectively. They have made some good recruitment for this season, it will be interesting to see how they use these players.

Strongest XI: Aaron Finch/Lendl Simmons, Unmukt Chand/Parthiv Patel, Corey Anderson, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Aditya Tare, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga/Josh Hazzlewood, Vinay Kumar/Abhimanyu Mithun, Jasprit Bumrah/Pragyan Ojha.

Bench strength: MI is one of the few teams having tremendous bench strength. As you can see how much difficulty I have faced to choose what can be their strongest line up. Still you don’t find McCleanaghen among my picks. Even it is hard to find any room for Aiden Blizzard who batted brilliantly in the last CLT20. There are several alternatives for the various positions and a healthy competition going on between one another for making into the first XI.

Matter of concern:

  • It will be a tough job for the team management to make sure that the best eleven players play in the field.
  • MI will have to stay away from the emotional calls they have made in the past. Malinga has served this team more than anyone else. That’s the reason why they never let him go. But now if he doesn’t perform well enough then they should not hesitate to drop him. We saw they kept playing off-form Malinga during the last CLT20 and the team had to pay its price. This time they should make sure that the resources they have are used properly.

Team Rating: 8.3/10


Chennai_Super_Kings_Logo.svg

Best Performance: 2010 – Champion, 2011 – Champion

Last Season Position: 3rd

Overview of the past performances: Only team to feature in all the knockout stages of all the IPL seasons. They are the team who played and also won the most number of matches in the history of IPL. Two IPL championships along with the same number of CLT20 crowns have inarguably made them the super kings of all the T20 teams in the world.

Important changes for this season: One of the biggest reasons behind their success is that they generally do not make heavy changes. They retain their main pillars and keep the core of the team same every year. But when they do recruit someone he never seems to disappoint. Hence in this season I’ll keep my eyes on Irfan Pathan.

Strongest XI: Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plesis, Dwayne Bravo, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey.

Bench strength: It is never easy to be in the playing XI of the best team. But CSK’s team selection has always been very calculative. They do not overbuy players. They form a team which will do the job for them and use their resource perfectly. So if there is any need of referring to the reserve bench the players will back themselves to give their best, something what they have done before as well.

Matter of concern:

  • It is really hard to point out any weakness of this team until they get defeated. At the moment I can’t see much to worry about. I would have liked to see Kyle Abbott in the playing XI, but whom to drop!

Team Rating: 9.0/10


Kings-XI-Punjab-ipl-2015-TEAM-lOGO-255x300Best Performance: 2014 – Runners up

Last Season Position: 2nd

Overview of the past performances: KXIP has not been the best of the teams in terms of their all time IPL performances. Except the first and the latest edition of the IPL they haven’t been able to cross the league stage hurdle. But they found a great shape last time and this year’s team will also be no different. They missed out an opportunity last time. This time too George Bailey and his men will have their eyes at their maiden IPL crown.

Important changes for this season: Murali Vijay comes in for Cheteshwar Pujara. It will be interesting to see how Manan Vohra is used. He was retained in the last year and played some good knocks. The youngster surely deserves a place.

Strongest XI: Murali Vijay, Virender Sehwag/Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey, David Miller, Mitchel Johnson, Axar Patel, Karanveer Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Parvinder Awana.

Bench strength: I can’t see either of Shaun Marsh or Thisara Parera playing in place of any of the 4 aforesaid overseas players. Rishi Dhawan may have his chances to take part in the playing XI.

Matter of concern:

  • Although the KXIP bowlers on the whole had a good tournament last time, but as the tournament progressed the lack of experience could be seen clearly. Johnson and Axar Patel will have to bear some additional responsibility.

Team Rating: 8.0/10


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Best Performance: 2012 – Champion, 2014 – Champion

Last Season Position: 1st

Overview of the past performances: KKR may not be the best team in terms of their all time records, but mind you they are one of the only two teams to win the IPL twice. Out of their 7 appearances only thrice they made it to the knockouts. Out of those 3 occasions twice they played the finals and won both of them. It has been a very unpredictable team. When they defended their title 2 years back with almost the same team that won the IPL, they failed to meet the expectation. But in the following year, when almost everyone thought that they were the weakest team, they surprised everyone with their winning streak which led them to be the IPL champions. They were on a role in the last CLT20 as well, won everything before finally holding out to CSK. That kind of a team is KKR and you never know what they do when they do.

Important changes for this season: Not too many changes expected in their playing XI. Jacques Kallis appointed as the team mentor.

Strongest XI: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Shakib-al-Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russel, Surya Kumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav.

Bench strength: A fair reserve bench having Ryan ten Doeschate and Pat Cummins in it. Two chinaman bowlers Brad Hogg and Kuldeep Yadav will also be under consideration.

Matter of concern:

  • A huge question mark over Sunil Narine still lies that whether he will be as effective as before after he was forced to change his bowling action.
  • As long as the players click it should be fine for KKR. But if we see the level of consistency of the individuals, not many will produce an impressive figure. Last time they played well as a unit, and this time too it is important that they do so. Otherwise there are not many players who can win the matches for them single handedly.

Team Rating: 8.2/10


The countdown has begun. Get ready for the cricket carnival. Sit back, keep calm, relax and enjoy for the next one and a half months.

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