India and Australia played out a gruelling four-match Test series, which concluded at Dharamsala on Tuesday. From bouncers to big hundreds to controversies, the series had it all, and fortunately for India, they were on the winning side in the end.
But the players will have to leave the Test arena and quickly move into the fast paced nature of T20 cricket in our very own Indian Premier League.
With less than a week to go for the tournament, the teams are racing against time to get to know their new teammates in the dressing room and set the ball rolling as far as training is concerned.
While all the teams have the firepower to reach the playoffs this season, here’s a look at the four teams that may have an edge over the other teams.
1. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Like they have for many seasons, the Royal Challengers Bangalore move into IPL 10 as the strongest side. But, they have never won an IPL trophy!
However, they have a few worries ahead of the tournament. Virat Kohli, who sustained a shoulder injury during the third Test against Australia, is expected to miss the first few weeks of IPL.
KL Rahul will miss the entire season due to a shoulder injury he incurred in the Pune Test against Australia. Even then the team has enough batsmen to post big totals on the board.
At the top of the order, RCB have enough fire power in Chris Gayle, Shane Watson and AB de Villiers.
They have finishers in Kedar Jadhav and Stuart Binny. Tymal Mills will take the new ball and Yuzvendra Chahal will hold the key in the spin department.
Probable XI for most of the matches: Virat Kohli (c), Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, AB de Villiers (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Sarfaraz Khan, Stuart Binny, Yuzvendra Chahal, Pawan Negi, S Aravind, Tymal Mills.
2. Mumbai Indians
If any team can go toe-to-toe with Royal Challengers Bangalore, it’s the two-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians.
Rohit Sharma, who made a comeback to competitive cricket in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in March, will be raring to go in the IPL. An excellent IPL for the 29-year-old will be the perfect boost before the Champions Trophy.
Jos Buttler is capable of providing the final impetus in the death overs with the bat while Lasith Malinga will be in action with his toe-crushers!
Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson and Jasprit Bumrah will make for a dangerous bowling attack.
Probable XI for most of the matches : Rohit Sharma (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Saurabh Tiwary, Jos Buttler, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.
3. Rising Pune Supergiant
The Rising Pune Supergiant finished second last in the previous season. This time around, the boast of one of the most balanced teams in the IPL.
They had a good set of players last year as well, but their performance was heavily affected by the injuries sustained by star players such as Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith and Faf du Plessis.
With Steve Smith and Faf du Plessis good to go this time around and the Australian captain giving a fresh perspective as the leader of the side, RPS will be surely one of the teams to look out for.
Ajinkya Rahane will open the batting for Pune and down the order, IPL’s most expensive foreign player Ben Stokes will be expected to come up with the goods.
In the bowling department, they will be heavily affected by Ravichandran Ashwin’s absence (out of the IPL due to a groin injury).
However, they have Australia’s Adam Zampa in their squad, who will lead the side’s spin attack. The leg-spinner will receive support from experienced speedsters Jaydev Unadkat and Ashok Dinda.
Probable XI for most of the matches : Mayank Agarwal, Ajinkya Rahane, Steven Smith (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Faf du Plessis, Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary, Ankit Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa, Ashok Dinda.
4. Kolkata Knight Riders
Since the 2014 IPL edition, Kolkata Knight Riders have banked heavily on their opening batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa. Things aren’t going to be too different this time around.
The two-time champions have enough fire in their batting from Manish Pandey to Darren Bravo.
Trent Boult and Umesh Yadav will be expected to get the early breakthroughs and magician Sunil Narine will create trouble for the best of the batsmen in the league, yet again.
However, Umesh Yadav will miss the first two weeks of the IPL due to right hip and lower back soreness. Rishi Dhawan will probably share the new ball with Trent Boult during Umesh Yadav’s absence.
Probable XI for most of the matches : Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Darren Bravo, Trent Boult, Umesh Yadav, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla.
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