Narine, though, was called out for his action at the PSL and Russell is returning after a year out of the game because of doping. Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik will be the two batsmen who will be expected to lead the run-scoring efforts. We, however, are very excited to see what under sensation Shubman Gill can do in the big leagues. Gill has a technique that is very similar to Virat Kohli. If he can score runs even at a fifty percent of what Kohli does then he will have made it very big.
Chris Lynn missed the PSL because of yet another shoulder injury. He never seems to be able to go more than a few matches without being injured and so KKR has taken a massive gamble on him being able to last the entire season.
The Indian bowling contingent is very young and untested. KKR has put faith in a number of youngsters through their lineup. They lack the big name Indian players in their side and we think that could come back to bite them towards the end of the tournament. Dinesh Karthik has been handed the captaincy for this edition of the IPL.
He has very little experience of leading a T20 team and will have to learn very quickly on the job. Managing some of the best T20 players in the world alongside some raw Indian youngsters will demand a lot from him.
They have the deepest pockets, always seem to end up with the strongest contingent of Indian players and invest a lot in helping its younger players develop. Mumbai has stuck to tried and tested players for the most part. How their season goes could depend a lot on how their new additions gel within the team setup. The Mumbai Indians have a very solid batting order which will be led by Rohit Sharma.
His ability to hit the big shots and come up with massive innings when it matters most is legendary. Rohit Sharma will have Evin Lewis to help him out at the top of the order.
Traditionally, the pitch in Mumbai is the best for batting in the IPL. The ball comes on to the bat and the boundaries are really short. We think Evin Lewis could have a lot of fun in this IPL and showcase his big hitting ability to the world. The former under Indian captain comes with a solid reputation. The rest of the batting is powered by all-rounders like Kieron Pollard, the Pandya brothers, and Ben Cutting.
The fast bowling reserves of the Mumbai Indians are very solid as well. Mustafizur Rahman may struggle to get a game but he is another bowler that has done very well in T20 cricket over the last few years. The Mumbai Indians do not have a leading spinner that they can call upon. Akila Dananjaya is in the squad but it is difficult to see him being picked as one of the four overseas regularly.
Krunal Pandya is perhaps the other spin bowler that Mumbai can turn to but he has a long way to go to be able to be called a specialist in that role. A lot depends on the form of Rohit Sharma. He has been as bankable as gold for Mumbai Indians in the past but if he goes through a poor phase then the Mumbai Indian batting could struggle quite a lot. The new opening partnership at the top of the order of Evin Lewis and Ishan Kishan is untested. Opposition teams will try and target them to push the Mumbai Indians back early.
From being a team that was famous for finding value in relatively little-known players, the Rajasthan Royals have transformed into one of the biggest spenders in IPL They also find themselves at the center of a needless controversy thanks to the ball-tampering saga that Steve Smith is embroiled in. He was named as captain of the Rajasthan Royals but has since stepped down.
The team will now be led by Ajinkya Rahane. The Rajasthan Royals have a stellar first choice eleven. Buttler and Stokes will be the key to their performance this year. Both of them are all-rounders that bring plenty to the team. Both of them will also probably end up batting just behind each other in the batting order and determine the fate of most chases. Ajinkya Rahane is an excellent batsman but has not quite done justice to the talent he has.
His captaincy debut for India was very impressive and we think he could benefit from leading this side. The Royals will have a tough choice between Steve Smith and Darcy Short as the fourth overseas player. As one of the best batsmen in the world, we expect Steve Smith to be given the first chance at staking his place in the eleven but Short has proven himself to be a very good T20 player in a short amount of time as well.
The Rajasthan Royals are looking a little light in their bowling department. Archer, Stokes, and Jayadev Unadkat will be the leading fast bowlers for the side but their spin department is quite bare. K Gowtham, a young Indian off-spinner, has been picked for a huge sum of money but his success in the IPL is anything but guaranteed. Dhawal Kulkarni, Unadkat, and even Stokes have a tendency to go for plenty of runs. The flat batting wicket in Rajasthan could prove to be difficult for them to succeed on.
The Rajasthan Royals are also short of a quality Indian batsman. Rahane at the top is likely to be partnered with Rahul Tripathi who had an excellent debut season. As we have seen multiple times in the past, though, that the second season for these youngsters is much more challenging. The Rajasthan Royals have bet big on a few players to carry them through. They have a better-balanced team than someone like KKR who followed a similar strategy but need to wary of any injuries to their key players.
RCB is led by perhaps the best limited-overs batsman in the world today, Virat Kohli. He is going into the tournament well rested and raring to go.
The team also managed to pick plenty of players that are more suited to the conditions they can expect their home ground. Bangalore went from being one of the highest scoring grounds in the IPL to be one of the most difficult ones to score on last season.
RCB has more depth in its squad than any other team this season. In fact, they have so many options available that picking the right eleven will be a challenge in itself. All-rounders like Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, and Colin de Grandhomme will have to slug it out for spots in the middle order while the fast bowling duo of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Tim Southee will find it difficult to make the eleven as well.
Since there is no question about AB de Villiers being in the team, Virat Kohli can experiment with the other three overseas spots as per the conditions on offer. That is something he likes to do with the Indian team as well so expect RCB to be changing their side constantly.
Quality Indian batsmen are at a premium in this league and RCB is missing out on those as well. Virat Kohli is a giant but Parthiv Patel, Sarfaraz Khan, and maybe Manan Vohra are also going to have to step up when given the chance. Part of the solution to winning the league will be ensuring these two players get to bat at their positions of choice.
A top-heavy RCB could face similar challenges to previous years where a couple of early wickets would expose their team. Still, this RCB side is definitely one of the better put together squads and should be a definite contender. The Sunrisers Hyderabad lost in the eliminator last year and has been one of the strongest teams in the completion for the last few years.
With the ball tempering controversy surrounding their skipper, coach Tom Moody will have a huge role to play inside the dressing room to keep the team on track. The Sunrisers Hyderabad managed to keep the core of their batting order together. David Warner and Shikhar Shawan are an excellent opening pair and have won plenty of matches for their side.
Dhawan is going through a real purple patch in his game while Warner is one of the most dangerous batsmen in T20 cricket. These players give the Sunrisers plenty of stability as well as hitting power when they need it. In fact, Shakib Al Hasan could be the player around which this whole middle order revolves.
It seems like only one of these players can make it into the playing eleven, although we could be wrong. Both these two all-rounders are known for their big hitting. Depending on them to finish matches, though, could be a little risky. Rashid Khan and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar are absolute certainties in the starting eleven. Rashid Khan is the current hottest property in T20 cricket as batsmen around the world struggle to hit him for runs. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is also very good at bowling the yorkers and has been challenging for the purple cap consistently over the last few years.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad have always been a top-heavy team and this year is no different. The early wicket of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan will put a lot of pressure on the following batsmen.
While they have some better quality middle order batsmen than last season, they are still missing a quality Indian batsman. Manish Pandey could make us eat our words if he has an excellent season, though!
The team has plenty of backup for their fast bowlers but support for Rashid Khan in the spin department is frugal. The Sunrisers are also going to have to find a player that is able to provide them with big hits down the order. Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hood, Carlos Braithwaite are possible options but none of them is known for their consistency in doing the job.
Every IPL we see a couple of teams fall away from the leading pack completely. On the face of things, this year's squads look more evenly matched than ever before. Each team has managed to rectify a few shortcomings and keep its strongest players with them.
Apart from the Kings XI Punjab team, whom we think could find it difficult, the rest of the teams are closely matched. Sign up to our newsletter and receive daily FREE cricket betting tips and betting offers to your email! By navigating our site, you agree to allow us to collect information based on these.
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