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)
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)
Wicketkeepers: Ishan Kishan, Aditya Tare
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)
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
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.