Which is the strongest team in IPL 2018?

The IPL 2018 Auction is now complete and we know the eight teams who will battle for the title come April this year. Rs 431.7 crores were spent on 169 players by the eight franchises at the player auction in Bengaluru on January 27 and 28. And, having invested heavily, the franchise owners will hope that their team is good enough to win the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League.

Here, Cricfooty analyses each of the eight squads, their strengths, weaknesses, and how their ratings stack up.

Chennai Super Kings (25 players)

Batsmen: Murali Vijay, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Dhruv Shorey

Wicketkeepers: MS Dhoni (C), Ambati Rayudu, Jagadeesan Narayanan

Allrounders: Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ravindra Jadeja, Monu Kumar Singh, Kshitiz Sharma

Bowlers: Mark Wood, Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, and Kanishk Seth

Comment: CSK are well-stocked in every department, with the squad boasting plenty of experience, a nous for winning and having no weak link as such. They are a touch spin-heavy, but we can all agree that the MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch has become slower over the years and tended to aid spinners more than the fast bowlers. Dhoni also likes to load his bowling attack with spinners, though even he might feel spoilt for choice with the number of options at his disposal.

Read: Why CSK aren’t the best?

CSK squad rating: 9.0 (Based on the batting and bowling firepower, experience in the team and the options the captain has when he sits down to pick the playing XI)

Delhi Daredevils (25 players)

Batsmen: Colin Munro, Jason Roy, Gautam Gambhir (likely captain), Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Glenn Maxwell, Manjot Kalra

Wicketkeepers: Rishabh Pant, Naman Ojha

Allrounders: Vijay Shankar, Chris Morris, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Daniel Christian, Abhishek Sharma

Bowlers: Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Sayan Ghosh, Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Tewatia, Sandeep Lamichhane, Shahbaz Nadeem, Liam Plunkett

Comment: Purely in the context of Twenty20 cricket, DD’s squad can be rivalled by few others. The batting firepower is arguably second to none, the squad has a first-quality bowling attack and it has no dearth of quality all-rounders either. This is the strongest squad built in the franchise’s history. The specialty is Delhi have players for all conditions and venues, giving them an edge over the seven other franchises. And, in Ricky Ponting, the franchise have appointed a head coach with a proven track record and one who is a great man-manager, a motivator, and an out and out winner.

DD squad rating: 9.5

Kings XI Punjab (21 players)

Batsmen: Lokesh Rahul, Aaron Finch, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, David Miller, Manoj Tiwary

Wicketkeepers: Akshdeep Nath

Allrounders: Axar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Manzoor Dar

Bowlers: Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Ben Dwarshuis, Mayank Dagar, Mujeeb Zadran, Pardeep Sahu

Comment: Kings XI were the franchise who entered the bidding for the most number of players but have not managed to build a truly formidable squad. They have assembled a dynamic set of batsmen, but the squad doesn’t have enough quality in the bowling department and even one proven, out and out all-rounder. The dynamics of the T20 format are such that you need players who are good in more than one discipline.

KXIP squad rating: 7.0

Kolkata Knight Riders (19 players)

Batsmen: Chris Lynn, Cameron Delport, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Apporv Wankhade, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh

Wicketkeepers: Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik

Allrounders: Andre Russell, Javon Searles

Bowlers: Mitchell Johnson, Tom Curran, Vinay Kumar, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav

Comment: A considerably small squad means the captain has an easier job in picking the playing XI and Knight Riders’ first XI will be full of quality and players in their prime. (Needless to say, injuries to a couple of key players could derail the Knights.)

KKR squad rating: 8.0

Mumbai Indians (25 players)

Batsmen: Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (C), Saurabh Tiwary, Suryakumar Yadav, Jean-Paul Duminy, Siddhesh Lad, Sharad Lumba

Wicketkeepers: Ishan Kishan, Aditya Tare

Allrounders: Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Tajinder Singh, Ben Cutting

Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Mustafizur Rahman, Patrick Cummins, Pradeep Sangwan, Mitchell McClenaghan (replacement for Jason Behrendorff), Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Anukul Roy, Akila Dananjaya, Rahul Chahar, Mayank Markande

Comment: Mumbai Indians have a strong core and a good back-up for the first-choice players in every department. At the auction, they probably should have gone out of their way to retain Jos Buttler in place of one of the three overseas pacers. But even without this Englishman, the defending champions are full of quality and are capable of winning in all conditions.

MI squad rating: 9.0 

Rajasthan Royals (23 players)

Batsmen: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, D’Arcy Short, Aryaman Birla, Heinrich Klaasen

Wicketkeepers: Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Prashant Chopra

Allrounders: Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gautam, Jatin Saxena, Mahipal Lomror

Bowlers: Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dushmantha Chameera, Ben Laughlin, Anureet Singh, Ankit Sharma, Shreyas Gopal, Zahir Khan, Sudhesan Midhun

Comment: Rajasthan Royals have basically brought in the cream of Rising Pune Supergiant and assembled a strong squad with a collection of high-profile overseas players and quality capped and uncapped Indian players. The only negative is their bowling is lightweight and Jaydev Unadkat, who was bought for 11.5 crore rupees, has to shoulder the most responsibility.

RR squad rating: 9.3

Royal Challengers Bangalore (24 players)

Batsmen: Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, Pavan Deshpande

Wicketkeepers: Quinton de Kock, Parthiv Patel

Allrounders: Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Corey Anderson, Aniruddha Joshi

Bowlers: Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Tim Southee, Aniket Choudhary, Kulwant Khejroliya, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Murugan Ashwin

Comment: Imagine buying two of the most destructive batsmen, Brendon McCullum and AB de Villiers, and being able to field only one of them in the playing XI, unless, of course, Quinton de Kock is sacrificed and de Villiers or Parthiv Patel keeps wickets. Picking the four overseas players will be the biggest challenge for Kohli and RCB. Royal Challengers’ Indian contingent is a good one on paper.

RCB squad rating: 8.5 

Sunrisers Hyderabad (25 players)

Batsmen: Alex Hales, Manish Pandey, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Ricky Bhui, Tanmay Agarwal, Sachin Baby

Wicketkeepers: Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami

Allrounders: Shakib Al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, Deepak Hooda, Mohammad Nabi, Yusuf Pathan

Bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Thangarasu Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Chris Jordan, Billy Stanlake, Basil Thampi, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan

Comment: Sunrisers have high-quality players in every department and their Indian contingent is arguably the strongest of the eight IPL squads. Picking the playing XI shouldn’t be a problem and, though the squad doesn’t really have a good back-up for the first-choice personnel, Sunrisers will trump their counterparts in most head to heads.

SRH squad rating: 9.3

Season schedule

Final verdict

Delhi Daredevils indeed have the strongest squad this season and have to be considered as one of the favourites to win the title. Chennai Super Kings have returned to the IPL after a two-year absence and brought back much of their core, Rajasthan Royals have built an even stronger squad than the one in 2015 and with Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad boasting quality personnel in every department, we are set to witness the most competitive IPL season in history.

27 comments

  1. Biased ratings
    Don’t know how to analyze team strengths…waste article.. I laughed after hearing Delhi is strong on paper …..

    1. Delhi Daredevils are the only IPL 2018 team with the right composition (hard-hitting, innovative batsmen complemented by the presence of a certain Gautam Gambhir, Chris Morris and Vijay Shankar being the first-choice all-rounders and Amit Mishra, Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada making the franchise from the capital capable of winning in all conditions with their quality).

      We cannot deny that they had the best auction of the eight teams.

      Of course, everyone is entitled to have an opinion.

    2. You cannot judge a team’s strength by its past performance as the performance of a team depends on its player’s performance and not on the team’s name

    1. Pramit, Delhi have the team and the bowlers to win in all conditions. In Ricky Ponting, they now also boast a coach who is a born winner.

      In my opinion, they are one of the favourites to reach the playoffs.

  2. I think rcb is the best team with a balance of best batsman like virat,ab devillers,as well as best bowler like umesh ydav ,chahal so this team has good balance that’s makes him the best team in ipl 2018

    1. Umm, not really.

      They don’t quite have the right team balance: Only two among AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock can feature in the playing XI, and the bowling attack doesn’t have the X-factor that Delhi Daredevils (with Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult), for instance, or Chennai Super Kings (with Dwayne Bravo and Mark Wood) or Mumbai Indians have. Nathan Coulter-Nile and Umesh Yadav can be great one day and erratic the next, and much of the wicket-taking responsibility will have to be shouldered by Yuzvendra Chahal, in my opinion.

      They have a good squad, just not the strongest.

        1. I am not saying they are poor bowlers but they certainly are not of the calibre of the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mark Wood.

  3. rcb iz the strongest dude Virat Abd McCallum
    n blowers chahal umesh cris woakes these playerz are the gud balance for rcb haters just wait n watchhhhh…

    1. Need to win “must win games”
      Taking 2-3 all rounders and death bowling like yadav woakes
      Coulternile spinning department chahal sundar Ali,abd kohli decock mandeep grandhomme
      These guys should play 1st 5-6 matches.

  4. Rcb has stable xi without injuries it’ll looks better bowlers had opportunity to blow and nice change mccllum decock abd virat
    Negi woakes Ali southee\khejroliya yadav chahal coulternile\sundar
    Let’s play bold #

  5. RCB is the strongest team because in the team are very better bastman and better bowler because this team is very stronger ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, “and this .team can {won} the tropy”…………… ….. .. ……

  6. Guys I think MI is the team with quality bowlers like Cummins,mustafiz,Rahul chahar,jasprit bumbrah,and strong hitting quality all rounder like Pollard,duminy,h pandya,k pandya,and fast strong hitting openers which are Rohit and Lewis so I think Mumbai will blast and destroy this time but kxip is also good team this year but my best is mi

  7. Guys Delhi daredevils is the best team this season as they have a genuine captain ‘Gautam Gambhir’ and destructive batsmen like colin munro who has hit 3 centuries in T20’s and Glenn Maxwell The Big Show they also have top quality all-rounders like chris morris and vijay shankar they also have bowlers like trent boult and kagiso rabada so Delhi are gonna rock this season . IPL Trophy 2018 is gonna come home to delhi this year.

  8. Every team is best this year so the competition also will be tuff , all the best to all the teams and we will also enjoy a lot to see tuff compitition

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