Sports Cricket 04 Apr 2017 IPL 2017: Team stren ...

IPL 2017: Team strengths and weaknesses in 10th edition of Indian Premier League

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | AMEYA TILAK
Published Apr 4, 2017, 5:01 pm IST
Updated Apr 5, 2017, 4:55 pm IST
Here’s how the teams stack up for the cricketing extravaganza which begins in Hyderabad on Wednesday as defending champions SRH face RCB.
After a long home season of Test cricket, the Indian cricket fans will turn their attention to white-ball cricket as the tenth edition of Indian Premier League gets underaway in Hyderabad, on Wednesday. (Photo: IPL Twitter)
 After a long home season of Test cricket, the Indian cricket fans will turn their attention to white-ball cricket as the tenth edition of Indian Premier League gets underaway in Hyderabad, on Wednesday. (Photo: IPL Twitter)

Mumbai: After a long home season of Test cricket, the Indian cricket fans will turn their attention to white-ball cricket. The tenth edition of Indian Premier League gets underaway in Hyderabad, on Wednesday, when the last year finalists Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal.

Before the ball gets rolling in IPL 10, let’s have a look at how all the teams stack up and what will be their strengths and weaknesses as they aim to win the glittering IPL trophy.

 

1) Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)

Strength:

Bowling. To be precise, pace bowling. Sunrisers Hyderabad clinched the IPL 9 banking on their powerhouse bowling performance. The team has the services of Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Barinder Sran and the new additions to the squad in form of Chris Jordan, Mohammed Siraj, Siddarth Kaul. If Mustafizur Rahman is fit and makes himself available for the season, it will make SRH’s bowling attack even more lethal.

Weakness:

While Yuvraj Singh has turned around things for better following the conclusion of IPL 2016 to now, but Sunrisers Hyderabad’s batting, unlike their bowling, is a relatively weak link despite the presence of Yuvraj, Kane Williamson, Shikhar Dhawan, skipper David Warner, Kane Williamson, Deepak Hooda and all-rounder Moises Henriques and Ben Cutting. With Warner and Dhawan’s patchy form, SRH will need to do some serious juggling with their playing XI to fit in 4 foreigners and balance the bowling prowess with batting strength.

 

2) Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)

Strength:

Despite more than handful of injury concerns, batting will be RCB’s strongpoint as they look to go one better from their performance in the last edition of the event.

Weakness:

Fitness and bowling. KL Rahul is out injured. Sarfraz Khan is unlikely to play due to injury. Virat Kohli is still recovering from the shoulder injury he sustained during the third India versus Australia Ranchi Test. AB de Villiers won’t feature in the season’s opening game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. That leaves RCB batting heavily dependent on Chris Gayle, Shane Watson and Mandeep Singh. What it also means is RCB, as across the years, will be top heavy. RCB’s other concern would be their bowling. Despite the presence of Tymal Mills and Yuzvendra Chahal, the team lacks someone who will not leak runs.

 

3) Delhi Daredevils (DD)

Strength:

It is safe to say, Delhi Daredevils have one of the most balanced bowling attacks in IPL 10. With Kagiso Rabada, one of the best modern-day bowlers, alongside tearaway pacer Pat Cummins joining the hands with Mohammed Shami, Zaheer Khan, Chris Morris, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem and Jayant Yadav, Delhi Daredevils have all the firepower with the ball to fulfil their ambition to win a maiden IPL title.

Weakness:

While the team has the likes of Sam Billings, Mohammad Shehzad, Rishabh Pant, Karun Nair, the Delhi franchise’s batting has taken a hit with the South African duo of JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock opting out of IPL 10 due to personal reasons and injury respectively. In addition to that, Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews is an unlikely starter following his injury.

 

4) Gujarat Lions (GL)

Strength:

With the likes of Suresh Raina, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik and Jason Roy in their ranks, Gujarat Lions have plenty to choose from at the top. While they don’t have a reputed foreign pacer in their side, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni and Shivil Kaushik have shown they can hold their own against some of the biggest hitters of the cricket ball.

Weakness:

Lower middle-order will be an area of concern for the Keshav Bansal-owned side. With Dwayne Bravo out injured and Ravindra Jadeja absence from the side in the initial stages of the tournament as he takes a rest following a gruelling season with Team India, Gujarat Lions will miss two of game’s finest all-rounders; with bat and ball and most definitely in the field.

 

5) Mumbai Indians (MI)

Strength:

Batting is not a worry as Rohit Sharma is fit and with Ambati Rayudu, Lendl Simmons, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal, Parthiv Patel, Siddhesh Lad amongst others in the mix, Mumbai Indians can conjure up performances to push the opponents on the backfoot. The presence of Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mitchell Johnson and R Vinay Kumar in addition to Harbhajan Singh and a few other tweakers add variety to MI’s bowling attack

Weakness:

More than the squad, Mumbai Indians’ weakness is their tendency to be slow starters. The team, despite winning IPL twice, have struggled in their first five games of season multiple times.

 

6) Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

Strength:

KKR have one of the most balanced squad amongst 8 teams. While they will miss Andre Russell’s services, buying Chris Woakes, Trent Boult and Nathan Coulter-Nile in this year’s action has strengthened their pace-bowling attack.

The batting has the required firepower with seasoned customers like Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Chris Lynn and Suryakumar Yadav. With Shakib Al Hasan in their ranks, KKR, in addition to one of the finest all-rounders of the game, KKR have a solid spin-bowling options in form of Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav.

 

Weakness:

Perhaps, the only weakness in KKR’s bowling attack is the absence of an Indian pacer. While Umesh Yadav, who will have a break following a long home season, will feature for KKR in the later stages of the tournament, his presence in the team from the start of IPL 10 would have added more balance to the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned side. Andre Russell’s absence could be another weak link considering his ability to hit big and bowl fast. Add to it, his fielding acrobats.

7) Rising Pune Supergiant (RPSG)

Strength:

Batting. With plethora of world class batsmen – Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane in addition to big hitters like Ben Stokes and MS Dhoni, batting will be RPSG's stronger suit.

 

Weakness:

Bowling. Absence of R Ashwin due to injury. While he was below par in the last season of IPL, not having a bowler of Ashwin’s class and calibre in the ranks would be a big setback. While RPSG have Adam Zampa, one of the only highlights from their disappointing debut season last year, and Imran Tahir to add strength to their bowling, their pace-bowling fortunes depend heavily on how Ben Stokes bowls.

8) Kings XI Punjab (KXIP)

Strength:

Kings XI Punjab has a flurry of big hitters in their squad with some of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball – Glenn Maxwell, Eoin Morgan and David Miller in the squad. To have Marcus Stoinis and Darren Sammy to play the all-rounder’s role and Manan Vohra, Shaun Marsh and Wriddhiman Saha at the top to set up an innings can be an ideal combination of players as KXIP chase their first IPL title.

 

Weakness:

Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma were pillars of KXIP’s bowling last season. But KXIP lack a foreign pacer or spinner who can turn up the heat. While Axar Patel had taken up the role of a lead spinner, he, at times, had buckled under pressure as seen in KXIP game against RPSG in the last edition of IPL.

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