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IPL 6 - Squads and predictions

Just about two weeks now for the IPL to kick off. This edition of the event sees a new team, the Sunrisers Hyderabad being included (not really a new team actually, just a change of franchise). The IPL also sees a change in title sponsor this season and will be called the ‘Pepsi IPL’ rather than ‘DLF IPL’. Besides the Sunrisers, there are eight other teams who will be vying for ultimate glory. They will be playing a total of 16 matches (8 home and 8 away). Another thing which will be on their mind is Champions League T20 qualification. The teams which finish in the top 3, are automatically entered into the Champions League, while the team which finishes 4th, qualifies for the playoffs. In a squad, there can be a maximum of 33 players, with the maximum number of overseas players being 11. IPL will run from 3rd April to 26th May. Below is a detailed analysis on all the teams which could help you choose which team to cheer for.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK)

CRICKET-RSA-CLT20-CHENNAI-SUPER-KINGS-MUMBAI-INDIANS

Owner: India Cements Limited

Coach: Stephen Fleming

Number of Indian Players: 12

Number of Overseas Players: 10

Squad:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Nuwan Kulasekara, Michael Hussey, Subramaniam Badrinath, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Anirudha Srikkanth, Ravichandran Ashwin, Fracois du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, Albie Morkel, Dwayne Bravo, Wriddhiman Saha, Shadab Jakati, Suraj Randiv, Vijay Shankar, B. Aparajith, Christopher Morris, Dirk Nannes, Akila Dananjaya, Jason Holder, Ben Laughlin.

Strengths:

This team has made it to the semi-final in each and every season, making them the only team to do so. So, CSK are always huge favourites. Dhoni being the captain is another boost. He always manages to send the right bowlers, right field placements, sometimes promotes himself up the order too and it all manages to work out just perfectly. Another strength of the team is the number of all-rounders in this side. Jadeja, Morkel, Bravo always provide for the extra bowling options and when the team is in trouble whilst batting, they are always the ones you can count on to anchor the rest of the innings.

Weaknesses:

Very few weaknesses in this ‘near perfect’ side. The bowling is the only department they could be having problems. Nannes and Kulasekara to some extent are the only renowned fast bowlers. Usually Ashwin, Jakati and Randiv are all played together which means CSK are over reliant on spinners. If the spinners fail, CSK’s game could be in serious jeopardy.

Predicted finish: 2

Delhi Daredevils (DD)

CRICKET-RSA-CLT20-PERTH SCORCHERS-DELHI DAREDEVILS

Owner: GMR Groups

Coach: Eric Simons

Number of Indian Players: 15

Number of Overseas Players: 11

Squad:

Virender Sehwag, Shahbaz Nadeem, Umesh Yadav, Pawan Negi, Naman Ohja, Unmukt Chand, Yogesh Nagar, Varun Aaron, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Kedar Jadhav, Manpreet Juneja, Mahela Jayawardene (c), Andre Russell, David Warner, Kevin Pietersen, R van der Merwe, Ross Taylor, Morne Morkel, Gulam Bodi, Siddharth Kaul, Sujit Nayak, Venugopal Rao, Johan Botha, Jesse Ryder, Jeevan Mendis.

Strengths:

Sehwag is the biggest asset of this team. Once he gets going, it’s curtains for the opposite team. Varun Aaron and Unmukt Chand are India’s future and are growing in confidence with each game they play. Warner is known for his hard hitting is among the runs too. Even though Morne Morkel is the only known fast bowler in DD, he alone is enough to lift the spirits of his side.

Weaknesses:

Over reliance on Sehwag could cost them. His failure could demoralize the whole batting order as he’s one of the best in the business, everyone knows that. They don’t really have big names among the Indians. There is no denying that the foreigners are a good bunch, but only four of them can be picked. Another fresh blow that DD have just received is that Kevin Pietersen won’t be playing this season due to an injury. For now, he is in the squad, as a replacement is yet to be decided upon. Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar too aren’t the all-rounders they once used to be. I don’t expect this side to make it to the semis.

Predicted finish: 7

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

Owner: Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Jai Mehta

Coach: Trevor Bayliss

Number of Indian Players: 12

Number of Overseas Players: 11

Squad:

Gautam Gambhir (c), Debabrata Das, Manoj Tiwary, Iqbal Abdulla, L Balaji, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Manvinder Bisla, Pradeep Sangwan, Rajat Bhatia, Sarabjit Singh Ladda, Shami Ahmed, Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Brad Haddin, Brendon McCullum, Sunil Narine, James Pattinson, Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Sachithra Senanayaka, Ryan McLaren.

Strengths:

The biggest positive they would take into this season’s IPL would be winning it last season. This will certainly drive them on to emulate last year’s performance. Narine has been a revelation and his performance is crucial in every game. Even if he goes wicketless (which is a rarity), he’s always economical, which is as good as taking a wicket in T20s. Such is KKR’s reliance on Narine that he’s always bowls at the death. Yusuf Pathan and Brendon McCullum, although in bad form recently, can turn the tide in their team’s favour any time.

Weaknesses:

Again, the over-reliance on Narine and the lack of quality Indian players could be a huge problem. You can’t always fall back on the foreigners to seal the game. What if Narine gets injured? Gambhir is the only quality Indian player in the side. Balaji is an Indian discard, just like Agarkar and Irfan Pathan as I had mentioned earlier. Manoj Tiwary too isn’t one of the players you can rely on.

Predicted finish: 6

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP)

Kings XI Punjab bowler Praveen Kumar (C)

Owner: Ness Wadia

Coach: Darren Lehmann

Number of Indian Players: 15

Number of Overseas Players: 8

Squad:

Bhargav Bhatt, Bipul Sharma, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Harmeet Singh Bansal, Mandeep Singh, Nitin Saini, Parvinder Awana, Paul Valthaty, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, R Sathish, Siddharth Chitnis, Sunny Singh, Adam Gilchrist (c), David Hussey, David Miller, Ryan Harris, Shaun Marsh, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Azhar Mahmood, Manan Vohra, Manpreet Gony, Luke Pomersbach.

Strengths:

Paul Valthaty was a sensation in the 2011 season, getting a few good knocks too. He was also the orange cap holder for a few games. But it was just those few games after which he began scoring poorly. This team doesn’t have too many strengths apart from Gilchrist’s captaincy skills. Mahmood is a specialist in any department, so Gilly (as he is fondly called) has no choice but to look upon Mahmood for some inspiration. Sathish at his best can be threatening though.

Weaknesses:

Just three or four big names is what this team is made up of, otherwise it’s just a whole lot of Indian youth players, a few of whom are even unheard of. Chawla isn’t the bowler he used to be. Gony is more involved in controversies and less in cricket nowadays. Praveen Kumar too hasn’t been getting much success with the ball, the reason why he isn’t being picked in the Indian team either. I won’t be surprised if this team finishes well at the bottom.

Predicted Finish: 8

Mumbai Indians (MI)

Mumbai Indians Vs Chennai Super Kings - IPL 2012

Owner: India Win Sports Private Limited

Coach: John Geoffrey Wright

Number of Indian Players: 16

Number of Overseas Players: 11

Squad:

Ricky Ponting (c)Sachin Tendulkar, Ambati Rayudu, Amitoze Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Philip Hughes, Munaf Patel, Pawan Suyal, Pragyan Ojha, Dwayne Smith, Jalaj Saxena, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishi Dhawan, Yuzvendra Singh Chahal, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Kieron Pollard, Aiden Blizzard, Lasith Malinga, James Franklin, Mitchell Johnson, Rohit Sharma, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aditya Tare, Jacob Oram.

Strengths:

Unlike a few other teams, this team isn’t reliant on just a few players. Such is the strength of this squad that talents like Coulter-Nile, Hughes and Smith could find themselves sitting in the dugout for a majority of the games. I’ve watched Coulter-Nile play in the Big Bash and he has been a standout player. All he needs is game-time to get noticed. Pollard doesn’t need an introduction. Malinga is always on the look out for toe crushing yorkers. Among the Indians, there’s Rayudu, Karthik and Harbhajan whose strengths are in T20s. So this is one team who are capable of going all the way.

Weaknesses:

Maxwell, the only million dollar buy in the recent IPL auction will have to do a lot to live up to his price tag. He could crumble under the huge pressure which will be surrounding him from the start. Another thing, as bad as this may sound to Tendulkar fans, he does not deserve to be a part of the playing XI. He was poor in the season last time around. Now with Ponting as the skipper, the team already have an anchor at the top. Another anchor in the form of Tendulkar will just slow MI down in getting to that 160+ total.

Predicted finish: 1

Pune Warriors India (PWI)

(FILES) In this photograph taken on May

Owner: Subrata Roy

Coach: Pravin Amre

Number of Indian Players: 22

Number of Foreign Players: 11  

Squad:

Ali Murtaza, Angelo Mathews, Anustup Majumdar, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dheeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Harpreet Singh, K Upadhyay, Ross Taylor, Luke Wright, Mahesh Rawat, Manish Pandey, Marlon Samuels, Mitchell Marsh, Mithun Manhas, Murali Kartik, Rahul Sharma, Raiphi Gomez, Robin Uthappa, Shrikant Wagh, Wayne Parnell, Yuvraj Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Steve Smith, T Suman, Tamim Iqbal, Udit Birla, Ajantha Mendis, Kane Richardson, Abhishek Nayar, Michael Clarke.

Strengths:

PWI, the only team with the full quota of 33 players, gives them a bigger squad to choose from. Yuvraj Singh at his best can hit six sixes in an over. Steven Smith and Clarke have been the standout performers in the ongoing series against India which should give them the confidence to do even better in the IPL. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) has taken the cricketing world with surprise. Judging by his recent performances, he could become an even better player in the future. The South African  Parnell has been among the wickets in the past. Rahul Sharma is also another budding Indian sensation to watch out for.

Weaknesses:

I don’t really see any weaknesses in this team. Their only weakness last season was Sourav Ganguly, who was needlessly occupying a spot which would’ve benefited a youngster more. Nayar looks the most likeliest of all to get that spot. I expect them to finish higher than they did last season.

Predicted finish: 3

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)

Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Chri

Owner: Vijay Mallya

Coach: Ray Jennings

Number of Indian Players: 20

Number of Overseas Players: 11

Squad:

Virat Kohli (c), Zaheer Khan, AB de Villiers, Abhimanyu Mithun, Abhinav Mukund, Andrew McDonald, Arun Karthik, Cheteshwar Pujara, Chris Gayle, Daniel Vettori, Harshal Patel, K P Appanna, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Muttiah Muralitharan, P Parameswaran, R Vinay Kumar, S Aravind, Sandeep Warrier, Saurabh Tiwary, Sunny Sohal, Syed Mohammad, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Vijay Zol, Jaydev Unadkat, Rudra Pratap Singh, Moises Henriques, Ravi Rampaul, Pankaj Singh, Daniel Christian, Christopher Barnwell

Strengths:

Chris Gayle is what this team is made up of. He plays a big knock and the team is more than happy to sit back and watch. RCB have good strength in their middle order too which comprises of Kohli, De Villiers and Pujara. In the bowling department, Murali and Vettori are the ones to watch out for. Even if they have an off day, they make sure they’re economical.

Weaknesses:

Again, over reliance on Gayle could prove to be dangerous. Usually Gayle never fails, but if he does, I see this team in big trouble.

Predicted finish: 4

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Owner: Kalanidhi Maran

Coach: Tom Moody

Number of Indian Players: 15

Number of Overseas Players: 11

Squad:

Bharat Chipli, Cameron White, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, JP Duminy, Shikhar Dhawan, Akshath Reddy, Chris Lynn, Dwaraka Ravi Teja, Ashish Reddy, Biplab Samantray, Kumar Sangakkara, Parthiv Patel, Ishant Sharma, Juan Theron, Ankit Sharma, Dale Steyn, Anand Rajan, Veer Pratap Singh, Amit Mishra, Akash Bhandari, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy, Sudeep Tyagi, Clinton McKay, Nathan McCullum, Quinton De Kock.

Strengths:

They are the only new team in this season’s edition. Their inclusion this season was due to the termination of Deccan Chargers. Being a new team, no one really knows any of their strategies, which could be a huge boost to this side. No one will expect anything out of them which means they are free from pressure. Dhawan will prove to be one of the key members of this side. His recent display against the Aussies, which saw him score 187 (the highest by an Indian debutant in Tests), will drive him on to do well. Dale Steyn, who can be referred to as a big fish in a small pond, can take any side single handedly. Parthiv Patel is also known for his quick starts.

Weaknesses:

DC were poor last season and this side still has a majority of the players who played for DC. They still haven’t decided on their captain which means there is no one to lead them as yet. This could bring about a feeling of negativity in the dressing room.

Predicted finish: 9

Rajasthan Royals (RR)

Rajasthan Royals bowler Sidharth Trivedi

Owner: Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra & Lachlan Murdoch

Coach: Monty Desai

Number of Indian Players: 11

Number of Overseas Players: 10

Squad:

Ajinkya Rahane, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan, Ashok Menaria, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Kevon Cooper, Rahul Dravid (c), S Sreesanth, Shane Watson, Shaun Tait, Shreevats Goswami, Siddharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny, Dishant Yagnik, Harmeet Singh, Owais Shah, Samuel Badree, James Faulkner, Fidel Edwards, Kusal Janith Perera.

Strengths:

The Double Rs (RR) have just 21 players in their squad, (the least among all the other teams) which gives every player belief that they can be chosen in the playing XI by putting just that little bit of effort in training over the others. Cooper was a sensation last season. Unfortunately, he got injured just after 6 games and was out for the rest of the season. On being asked on how’s he’s finding the IPL, Cooper replied that he never even dreamt of playing in the IPL and had been watching the previous seasons at home. Watson can prove to be fatal with both the bat and ball. Dravid is always there too, to look upon at for inspiration.

Weaknesses:

Squad size which is an advantage could turn out to be a disadvantage too. A few injuries and the team won’t have many options to pick an XI from. Sreesanth isn’t the bowler he used to be. He always ends up on the expensive side and doesn’t pick more than a wicket or two in a game.

Predicted finish: 5

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