With the ninth edition of the IPL about to start, we take a look at some of the teams and a peek into the players who can make all the difference.
Jos Butler: Mumbai Indians bought Butler for a whopping 3.8cr. After his heroics with the bat in hand for England in the recently concluded World T20, he would add value to the top order of the defending champions.
Rohit Sharma: The moment he took over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting couple of seasons ago, Sharma has grown as a player and changed the fortunes for his side. Under his captaincy, MI have won the IPL twice. Although the 28-year-old has been short of runs recently, but it is only a matter of time before the right-hander finds his touch in the tournament.
Lendl Simmons: Simmons quietly fits in to the role of an opener in the star-studded Mumbai line-up, and given his form with the bat in the last two seasons, the West Indian would be eyeing to make every opportunity count in the IPL.
ShreyasIyer: He scored 439 runs in 14 matches, with a 33.76 average and a strike rate of 128.36, making him one of the most consistent players of IPL 8.The daredevils will again look up to him to give them a quick start and the young right-hander has done more than enough to become a key figure in the Daredevils line-up.
Quinton De Kock: This South African opener is now an experienced batsman in all 3 forms of the game having even scored a century on his Test debut for South Africa.Kock was in his elements in the WT20 and would be looking to carry that same form in the upcoming tournament.
JP Duminy: He was their captain last year and was one of the few shinning lights of a season they would like forget. The burden of captaincy is no longer there with Duminy this season and that might just work in his favour.
Rising Pune SuperGiants
MS Dhoni: This is self-explanatory. He is the best finisher of the game today. He captained CSK in all the eight seasons and won it twice. On numerous occasions,Dhoni had bailed his team out of trouble and the SuperGiants would be hoping that he does the same, playing for their team.
Steve Smith: Australian Captain Steve Smith is one of the best players of the game right now. He has played for Pune warriors in the past and will certainly play a crucial role for the SuperGiantsin their first season.
Kevin Pieterson: KP still remains one of the most destructive batsmen England had ever produced. He was in exceptional form in this year’s Big Bash smashing 74* in the final. He also is an excellent fielder and his form will have a huge say as to where the SuperGiants finish this season.
David Warner: Warner had a poor WT20, going by his standards but in the IPL he would be back to opening the innings which is where he is more destructive than coming down the order. SunRisers would be hoping that he can carry on from where he left in the previous season.
Yuvraj Singh: He was the costliest Indian player in this year’s auction, going for 7 cr. He is vastly experienced, having played for India all those years along with all the otherIPL teams. He will bolster the middle order of SRH and provide an additional spin option for his captain
Kane Williamson: This New Zealander is arguable the most technically gifted player from his country. He has been in excellent form in the last few years and played well in the World T20 campaign. He may open with Warner this season that perhaps has the potential to be a deadly combination.
Suresh Raina: He will be captaining the Gujarat Lions this season. Coming off a bad WT20 he will be eager to prove his credentials to the Indian selectors. He is the highest run scorer in the IPL, scoring 3699 runs.
Brendon McCulum: The recently retired former New Zealand captain was responsible for giving CSK a fiery start along with Dwayne Smith. This season Gujarat fans will be hoping that he can do the same for them. Having a strike rate of 155.71, he surely is a player to watch out for.
Dwayne Smith: He has been the most consistent opener in the IPL for the last few seasons. Be it for Mumbai or Chennai he has been responsible for getting his teams off to a flier. He also has a thing or two to prove to the West Indies cricket board,having not been picked for the World T20.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli: Kohli single handily carried India to the semi-finals of the WT20. He has been in excellent form for the last few years and has always performed well for RCB. The only trophy missing from his cabinet is the IPL and this year he will definitely try his best to finally get his hands on it.
Chris Gayle: Gayle needs no introduction.He has been the highest run getter in two seasons and even has the highest score of 175 in the IPL by his name.
Ab de Villiers: Known as the 360 degree man, . de Villiers can hit the ball in every corner of the ground. Has the ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and had even smashed his own countrymen Dale Steyn for 28runs in an over in one of the previous seasons.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Robin Uthappa: Another former orange cap holder Robin Uthappa was one of the reasons for KKR winning the 2014 IPL. He scored 660 runs in that season which helped him make a place for himself in the Indian team. He would like to regain that place again and will be a player to watch out for this season.
GautamGambhir: He is the unsung hero of two World Cup finals, having scored half centuries in the 2007 World T20 final and also the 2011 World Cup final atthe Wankhede stadium. Kolkata have won twice under his leadership and is a very important player for SRK’s team.
Yusuf Pathan: The elder of the Pathan brothers, Yusuf has been a significant part of KKR’s middle order. Yusuf on his day has the ability to take any bowling attack to the cleaners and will fancy his chances this year too.
Kings XI Punjab
David Miller: The newly appointed captain of KXIP, Miller has been a core part of this team for many years. He has been a match winner for Punjab and played a significant role in the 2014 season when KXIP finished 1st in the table with a strike rate of 149.6 .
Glen Maxwell: He announced himself to the world in the 2014 IPL. He scored 552 runs with a highest of 95 and a strike rate of 187.75! Two years down the line and now he is more experienced and more matured in his batting and his form will be vital for Punjab to win this season.
Shaun Marsh: The first ever orange cap holder, Shaun Marsh has been phenomenal for the Punjab side. He can play any role in the team, be it of an opener or a finisher and will be a vital component for PreityZinta’s team.
By Pranav Ahuja