Chennai Super Kings has been the most consistent domestic T20 side in the world, let alone India. The team has won the IPL 2 times and has been runner up on 3 occasions. It has also won the Champions League T20 in 2010. In 2011 it retained 4 players and also kept the core of the team intact. It has gone in the same route in 2014 as well. It can be expected that this strategy will benefit it in the upcoming tournament as well.
Strengths: The team has excellent all round strength with the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and John Hastings. The bowling also looks to be in good hands with names such as Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Ben Hilfenhaus, Samuel Badree and Matt Henry.
Weakness: In the absence of the likes of Mike Hussey, Murali Vijay and Subramanyam Badrinath much responsibility will fall on the likes of Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Brendon McCullum and MS Dhoni. Also the team looks a bit less formidable compared to 2013 because of the absence of the likes of Albie Morkel and Jason Holder who performed creditably.
First XI: Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Mithun Manhas, Dwayne Bravo, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra and Ben Hilfenhaus
In the last couple of years, under the able leadership of Rahul Dravid, Rajasthan Royals have emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the IPL. This year, the genial Dravid will be the mentor and Watson will lead the side. It remains to be seen how successful the team is with the new combination. One will also be keen to see how the team adapts to not playing at the RCA Stadium in Jaipur, which had become a virtual fortress.
Strengths: The team has an exceptional core of allrounders with the likes of Watson, Smith, and Faulkner being completed by Stuart Binny and Abhishek Nayar. Their success or failure will have a decisive effect on the team’s campaign.
Weakness: Both the batting and bowling departments lack sufficient experience. There is a lot of capability there but the lack of experience could be critical to a certain extent. The absence of Dravid will also be a major issue.
First XI: Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane, Brad Hodge, Unmukt Chand, Steven Smith, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, James Faulkner, Dhawal Kulkarni, Iqbal Abdulla and Praveen Tambe
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Karnataka based team has always amassed the finest of talent, especially with regards to batting but the results have not always gone their way. They have never won the IPL and in the last couple of years even failed to qualify for the CLT20 as well. The team has retained Virat Kohli as the skipper but surprisingly brought in Daniel Vettori as the coach. It remains to be seen how successful the new combination turns out to be.
Strength: Any team with the likes of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers will always be strong in the batting department. Throw in the mix names like Nic Maddinson, Albie Morkel and Parthiv Patel and the batting looks all the more strong.
Weakness: The RCB is so well balanced that it is hard to pinpoint any particular problem area as such. However, one feels that Starc might have to carry too big a burden with the tendency of Aaron and Dinda to leak runs. The spin bowling could also be an area of concern.
First XI: Chris Gayle, Vijay Zol, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Yuvraj Singh, Albie Morkel, Parthiv Patel, Shadab Jakati, Mitchell Starc, Varun Aaron and Ashok Dinda
Sunrisers have been the most improved lot in the IPL as was evident from the way they challenged for the tournament last year. This year the team has acquired some fantastic players from the auction and looks all set to go one better.
Strengths: The team has an exceptional line up of batsmen such as skipper Dhawan along with the Australians Finch and Warner. The inclusion of the likes of Irfan Pathan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will add to the depth of the side.
Weakness: The quality of replacement cricketers especially in the batting line up could be an issue especially when the tournament nears it final phase and these cricketers are pressed into action.
First XI: Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Venugopal Rao, Naman Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Darren Sammy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Dale Steyn