IPL2018 Preview: TIDU bets on Delhi Daredevils

By Gaurav Joshi

The 11th season of the Indian Premier League kicks off in Mumbai on 7th April.  The Indian Down Under previews each team and rates their chances in the upcoming season.

Mumbai Indians

Regaining champions, look once again to go deep in the tournament, with two of the best death bowlers at the death in Jasporth Bumrah and Muzifizur Rehman.  Once again Rohit Sharma will be the key, but as evident last year, the best part of Mumbai’s victory was the input from the tier two players.  The Pandya brothers, Kieran Pollard and the underrated Surya Kumar Yadav, make it a formidable middle order. The only doubt is the lack of quality wrist spinner.

Prediction: 3rd

 The ‘X’ factor:  Surya Kumar Yadav

 Chennai Super Kings

The men in yellow are back after a two year absence and their team has been labelled as the ‘dad’s army’ – with the average age in the Chennai squad is over 30, but with the age comes a lot of experience.  Suresh Raina at No.3, will be pivotal and there will be plenty of eyes on MS Dhoni, the batsmen on if he still has the sitting prowess.  With Imran Tahhir, Karn Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja, one senses a lot of Chennai’s plan will revolve around spinners.  The lack of Indian pace bowlers in the line-up means they could be exposed on flat pitches.

Prediction: 5th

 The ‘X’ factor: Shane Watson

Kolkata Knightriders

The Knightriders have lost their skipper for the last five seasons in Gautam Gambhir and will be looking to bud youngsters under the new skipper in Dinesh Karthik.  Chris Lynn will be the crucial man at the top of the order and the return of Andre Russell as the all-rounder will ensure the Knightriders have the ‘X’ factor with the bat and ball.  With Kuldeep  Yadav and Sunil Narine in the spin bowling ranks, Knightriders have department covered, but a lot will depend on the how well Robin Uttappa, Dinesk Karthik  or Nitish Rana perform with the bat in the top order.

Prediction: 8th

 The ‘X’ factor: Andre Russell

Punjab Kings XI

Kings XI have a new look from last year with Brad Hodge taking over as coach and Ravi Ashwin appointed the captain. The batting looks hit or miss with KL Rahul, Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle, Marcus Stoinis all enigmatic performers.  Only Aaron Finch a consistent performer at the top of the order. If two or three of the top order players can perform consistently then the Kings XI can have a good season. But with the bowling stocks also thin, they will need each player to play best of their ability to go deep.

Prediction:  6th

 The ‘X’ factor: Marcus Stoinis

Rajasthan Royals

The Royals bought the two most priced players in the auction in Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat. A lot will be expected of both men.  The rise of Jofrey Archer and Darcy Short in the Big Bash league makes them a couple of players to keep an eye out during the tournament.  The batting has plenty has nice blend with Indian players – Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi along with England powerhouses Jos Butler and Ben Stokes.  The lack of spinner seems to be a concern and there be pressure on the batsmen to post high totals. There is still plenty of depth in the batting for them to ensure they qualify for the finals.

Prediction: 4th

 The ‘X’ factor:  Jofrey Archer

Delhi Daredevils

The Daredevils are looking like the team to beat this season.  They have recruited Ricky Ponting as the coach and with Gautam Gambhir as captain. They have plenty of strength in batting with Glenn Maxwell, Shreyas Iyer, Jason Roy, Colin Munro and Rishab Pant.  They are equally well poised in fast bowling department with Trent Boult, Chris Morris, Mohammad Shami along with IPL legend – Amit Mishra and Shabad Nadeem as spinners.  Anything apart from a top two finish will be considered a disappointment.

Prediction: 1st

 The ‘X’ factor: Shreyas Iyer

Royal Bangalore Challengers

The Challengers have recruited as good as any franchise in IPL 2018.  They have arguably two of the best batters in world cricket in AB De Villers and Virat Kohli.  With Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar the spin department looks extremely strong and has the variety. Brendon McCullum at the top  of the order and with Chris Woakes and Umesh Yadav with the ball, there are plenty of options with the ball. Add to that the youngsters such as Sarfraz Khan and Manan Vohra, suddenly the Challengers are looking like a team with plenty of flexibility.

Prediction: 2nd

 The ‘X’ factor: Washington Sundar

Sunrisers Hyderabad

It will be difficult season for the Sunrisers with David Warner missing the IPL due to his ban. Warner has been the lynchpin for the Sunrisers in the last two seasons and without him there is enormous pressure on Shikar Dhawan to produce the goods. For the Sunrisers to come good, a lot will depend on Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson. The bowling front looks strong with Bhuvneshar Kumar, Rasheed Khan, Billy Stanlake and Chris Jordan. The big challenge for the Sunrisers will be if they can conjure up totals that could be competitive for their well balanced bowling unit.

Prediction: 7th

The ‘X’ factor: Billy Stanlake

 

 

 

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