IPL Season Nine









Captain Suresh Raina unveils Gujarat Lions jersey with team owner Keshav Bansal

Gaurav Joshi gives progress report and few predictions


The ninth edition of the IPL is well and truly underway.   Each team has had feel of the action, experiment with their team selections and plan different strategies. Writing in the third week of April, apart from the newcomers, Gujarat Lions, each team has been defeated so it has given fair indication that the competition is quite healthy and competitive.

It is worth nothing that there has been only one final ball finish thus far. There have not been the cliff-hangers we have become accustomed to in the IPL which gives us the impression that teams are not completely settled as yet.

As the tournament gets into the groove  The Indian Down Under  has a few predictions for each team.

Gujarat Lions:    Fast out of the blocks, they have the best balanced line up but the key to them will be the form of Aaron Finch.   The Aussie opener has been the barometer and his form will dictate their fortunes.

Rising Pune Supergiants:  Started with an emphatic victory but the cracks in the fast bowling department have started to appear.   This might pose a problem. It has a star-studded batting line up but this IPL has not been high-scoring and if the conditions continue to be bare, hot and dry, they will need more from their fast bowlers. Spinner Ravi Ashwin can stamp his authority.

Mumbai Indians:  Slow start as usual, they are a team that experiments far too much. Mumbai desperately need a good number three, either Rohit Sharma has to demote himself or a young player has to emerge on the scene. The loss of Lasith Malinga is huge and it just puts more pressure on Jasprit Bumrah. It might not be a fairytale this time around.

Delhi Daredevils:    It is a team of all the emerging young Indian batsmen along with aggressive batting by Quinton De Kock of South Africa. They need consistency from the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson and Karun Nair if they are to have any chance of winning a handful of games. The bowling department has experience but can the batsmen produce the goods consistently?

Hyderabad Sunrisers:    It has been a slow start but injuries to Ashish Nehra and Yuvraj Singh are major setbacks.   The pair might not make an impression until the middle stages so the Sunrisers have to ensure they don’t fall too far behind the pack in the early stages.

Kings XI Punjab:    The top order led by Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra have been sensational but can Glenn Maxwell and skipper David Miller find form?   If the Aussies and the South Africans can get their touch then they are a completely different team.

Kolkata Knight Riders:    With plenty of home games upfront, the Knight Riders need a good start. Yet to see the best of Robin Uthappa or Yusuf Pathan this IPL as the tournament heads through the middle stages, it might be time for the two former Indian WT20 winners to find some form.

Bangalore Royal Challengers:    Can their bowlers find their groove? The world knows about Chris Gayle, AB De Villiers, Virat Kohli and Shane Watson but cricket is about bowlers as well.   The batting is good enough to make them the favourites but if their bowlers don’t perform at even par they will be beaten in big matches.


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