The Indian Premier League has woven such interest and glamour around it that it no more needs an introduction. The 8th edition of IPL with eight teams is all set to kick off on 8 April, right after the ICC World Cup. The IPL has succeeded in keeping its viewers and fans intact. The shorter version draws more and more spectators every year and it will be no different this time. The T20 version is just apt for the cricket-hungry young fans who will witness a total of 60 rapid-fire cricket matches within a span of 47 days. Fun, glitz, glamour, entertainment and cricket – what else could we ask for? Let’s have a look at the eight teams participating in the IPL 8 and what can be expected from which team.
Will Dhoni’s Side Create Sparks?
In IPL 2015, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings will try to clinch the title, which they have been vying for since 2011. Despite steadiness and power in CSK not much was manifested in the last few editions. However, the presence of experienced players could make a difference. The team includes players who have been skippers of their respective teams, namely, Brendon McCullum, Faf Du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo. Indian talents – Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohit Sharma and R Ashwin will also throw their weight behind the team. If McCullum carries the same zeal and performance that he displayed while playing for New Zealand, he could be a threat to any opposition. Also, the McCullum-Smith opening partnership will be crucial towards CSK’s achievement.
KKR: A Unit of Potent Players
The Kolkata Knight Riders are indeed the mammoths of the T20 cricket. Two titles in last three seasons is a reason enough for the team to look for another feather in the cap. KKR will consider opener Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir as their batting strength.
The middle order, too, looks strong despite the absence of Jacques Kallis. A well-knit team, KKR has talented T20 players in Andre Russell, Shakib al Hasan, Ryan Ten Doeschate and Yusuf Pathan. The bowling front too stands powerful with Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Pat Cummins. The spin department will be headed by Narine along with KC Cariappa, Kuldeep Yadav and Brad Hogg.
KKR is known for bouncing back hard. Year 2013 saw KKR failing to make it even to the playoffs and that failure pumped them up for the next season. If last year’s form is retained, KKR will have a good chance at the IPL 2015.
Delhi Daredevils Have Shami’s Support
Delhi Darevils is one team that has a strong support base, but unfortunately this IPL franchise has not been able to leverage its potential to the fullest. Not making it beyond the semi-final stage even once has brought frowns to faces. Moreover, the team hasn’t even qualified for the playoffs in the last two editions of T20 IPL. One of the most talked about teams in the IPL 2015 auction, Delhi Daredevils will look forward to bring about a change with players like Yuvraj Singh, Albie Morkel, Travis Head and Angelo Matthews. JP Duminy will be looked upon to lead the team from the front. The recently concluded World Cup saw Mohammed Shami displaying his excellent bowling skills with 17 wickets and not giving easy runs to opposition team. If he carries the same form, Delhi Darevils could be in a better position.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad team could be a formidable team, if the Warner-Dhawan duo can create sparks on the field. Boult and Steyn in bowling line-up, too, could prove to be beneficial. Even though the team has fine players, they have not been getting their mojo back. Players like Kevin Pietersen, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan could make a difference to the team this year.
Kohli, De Villiers and Gayle Strength of RCB
A line-up boasting of big names – Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Mitchell Starc and Chris Gayle – indicates a strong team. However, the Royal Challengers Bangalore has not been living up to the expectations. In absence of a well-coordinated teamwork, the team had succumbed under pressure in the past. In IPL 2015, big hits are expected from Kohli, De Villiers and Gayle. On the bowling front, Starc, Varun Aaron, Sean Abott and Adam Milne can spin-off a magic.
Mumbai Indians in IPL 2015
Aaron Finch and Rohit Sharma could prove to be the most crucial players. Since hard-hitting opener Finch had not been able to perform at his best earlier, he would look forward to make a statement knock this time. MI is the most popular team and has even managed to get to the playoff stages since 2010. The 2013 IPL winner, MI has Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh at the bowling front along with R Vinay Kumar.
RR Would Want a Repeat of 2008
They are the ones who lifted the 2008 IPL title with their stellar performance under Shane Warnes’ captaincy. The RR will again rely on their Aussie imports and hope to re-create the magic of 2008.
Kings XI Has Aussie Power
With Australian stars Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and Miller, the chances of KXIP’s victory look as good as last year. An all-round performance from these three, especially after their quality show at the World Cup, could help KXIP lift their first IPL title.