Bengaluru: The mega shopping festival for the eight teams of the Indian Premier League concluded on Sunday with all of them wearing a look of content at their purchases.
All of them came with a plan on whom they wanted to acquire, some shelling huge money for their targets and some getting them at a steal. At times they had to resort to alternatives when their targets were poached by others. However, in the end, it appears like most franchises have got their sides sorted with each of them having their own strengths and weakness. DH takes a look at how they stack up:
Yet again, RCB has assembled a brilliant squad on paper with a backup option for almost all slots. In Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, they have two of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket. Quinton de Kock and Brendon McCullum are dangerous while Sarfaraz Khan and Manan Vohra are talented and offer hope. Spinning all-rounder Washington Sundar and attacking leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is a good slow bowling combination. Pace bowling department also wears a strong look in Mohammad Siraj, Nathan-Coulter Nile, Tim Southee, Chris Woakes and Umesh Yadav.
Chennai Super Kings
With an average age of 33 years, the two-time champions have chosen to repose their faith on the tried and tested. While their opening combo is a bit of concern, in Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, skipper MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja, they've got a good blend of experience, power and swagger in the middle and lower order. With the Chidambaram Stadium generally friendly for spinners, it is clear why they roped in Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh to pair up with Jadeja. The problem lies in the pace department with none having major international experience.
The most successful team were slow to start off but they have assembled another squad capable of going all the way. They have the class and leadership of Rohit Sharma, can bank on Evin Lewis, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya for the big hits and Ishan Kishan for the exuberance of youth. Krunal Pandya will double up as the spinning all-rounder while in Jasprit Bumrah and Mustafizur Rahman, they have the two best death bowlers. Add Pat Cummins for raw pace, MI will be one tough team to beat.
RR broke the bank for Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat but they've made wise buys elsewhere too to create a strong group. They've got a good blend of classy batsmen, big-hitters, proven all-rounders and youngsters ready to steal the limelight. One among them is Jofra Archer, rated very highly. Their only worry is spin bowling with K Gowtham being the only frontline tweaker along with Karnataka mate Shreyas Gopal.
DD have packed their side with plenty of explosive batsmen who can tear apart bowling attacks. Living by the sword approach carries with it lots of risks. As such, they'll be hoping a couple of hitmen tee off every game. Also, they would want Glenn Maxwell to show some consistency. Though they have Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult and Mohammed Shami, the bowling unit is nothing to shout home about with the latter prone to breakdowns. Amit Mishra is the only reliable spin option.
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI is another side that will be relying on their batting to do the bulk of the job. The onus will be on Karnataka stars K L Rahul, Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal while veterans Yuvraj Singh and Chris Gayle - both not in the greatest of forms - will be hoping to turn the clock back. Spinners R Ashwin and Axar Patel will have to share the bulk of the bowling duties as they don't boast a formidable pace line-up.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Although their CEO Venky Mysore believes they got a great squad, they perhaps look the weakest among all. Much will hinge on Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik as the rest of their batting smacks of inexperience. With the likes of Mitchell Starc, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla, their bowling wears a strong look. Like KXIP, they too don't have a proven leader.
Sunrisers is another side that has given plenty of thought to forming their composition. Their opening combination -- featuring Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner -- is perhaps the best and they have some really destructive batsmen in the middle-order and potent bowling unit as well.
Manish Pandey was bought for a whopping 11 crore and he brings explosiveness to the middle-order.
Retaining Rashid Khan through right to match is another plus for a very well assembled side.
DH News Service