Batting boundary %rank: 10
Game changer Shardul Thakur
Game logger: David Warner
Strengths: They look a well-balanced XI, don’t they? And the squad has depth with good bowling cover for Anrich Nortje in the shape of Mustafizur Rahman. Likewise Tim Seifert cam come in and hit in any position if they lose an overseas batter.
Weaknesses: Despite the well-assembled unit, it’s hard not to reckon Delhi have gone back in time. The returning David Warner is on the wane and there’s a sense that they are an inferior version of the team which should have won at least one title in the last couple of years. The wait for a first win might go on.
Possible XI: Shaw (21.89), Warner (14.80), M Marsh (17.72), Pant (14.67), Sarfaraz (15.32), R Powell (13.99), Axar, Thakur, Kuldeep, Khaleel, Nortje
Squad: Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Axar Patel, Anrich Nortje, David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Shardul Thakur, Mustafizur Rahman, Kuldeep Yadav, Ashwin Hebbar, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, KS Bharat, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, La Chetan Sakariya Yadav, Ripal Patel, Yash Dhull, Rovman Powell, Pravin Dubey, Lungi Ngidi, Tim Seifert, Vicky Ostwal
Batting boundary %rank: 3
Game changer Tim David
Game logger: Anmolpreet Singh
Strengths: Mumbai failed to make the play-offs last term. They’ve reacted by assembling potentially their best-ever batting line-up. Tim David is a great signing, likewise Daniel Sams who’s an improved Nathan Coulter-Nile. It seems inconceivable that they don’t make the top four.
Weaknesses: There are two weaknesses. Anmolpreet Singh and Tilak Varma, who we have down in our possible XI, are completely unproven. If they don’t play, two other thrusters will have to. It’s unusual for such a storied franchise to step into the unknown like that.
Possible XI: Rohit (16.64), Ishan (18.39), Yadav (22.26), Anmolpreet Singh (13.16), Pollard (23.47), David (21.3), Sams, Tilak Varma, Mills, Markande, Bumrah
Squad: Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Ishan Kishan, Dewald Brevis, Basil Thampi, Murugan Ashwin, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, N Tilak Varma, Sanjay Yadav, Jofra Archer, Daniel Sams, Tymal Mills, Tim David, Tim David Meredith, Mohammad Arshad Khan, Anmolpreet Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Rahul Buddhi, Hrithik Shokeen, Arjun Tendulkar, Aryan Juyal, Fabian Allen
Batting boundary %rank: 1
Game changer Venkatesh Iyer
Game logger: Vijay Shankar
Strengths: This lot are the intent merchants. Coach Brendon McCullum will insist on reccklessness with the bat and it’s a shrewd strategy with Pat Cummins at number eight. They look a dangerous unit.
Weaknesses: They may well need to be quick with the bat because they could be pricey in the field. Sunil Narine opening again looks a must after they fudged the auction somewhat. Andre Russell’s fitness is again an issue.
Possible XI: V Iyer (20), Narine (23.22), Rana (20.39), S Iyer (11.49), Russell (25.3), Billings (17.64), Nabi, Cummins, Mavi, Umesh Yadav, Chakarathy
Squad: Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer, Pat Cummins, Nitish Rana, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Mavi, Sheldon Jackson, Ajinkya Rahane, Rinku Singh, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Dar, Baba Indrajith, Chamika Karjeunaratne, Abhi , Ashok Sharma, Sam Billings, Aaron Finch, Tim Southee, Ramesh Kumar, Mohammad Nabi, Umesh Yadav
Batting boundary %rank: 4
Game changer Wanindu Hasaranga
Game logger: Virat Kohli
Strengths: Faf Du Plessis taking over as skip from Virat Kohli is a major boost. Tactically they should be sharper. Mentally, too. Pairing top wicket-taker Harshal Patel and Josh Hazlewood looks like a masterstroke. Wanindu Hasaranga, if he hasn’t already, can confirm superstar status with bat and ball.
Weaknesses: Look at Kohli’s boundary percentage in the number three slot. It’s the worst return of any three. And only two other batters in our projected line-ups have a worst rate. It is arguable that RCB will never win a title until they get rid.
Possible XI: Du Plessis (17.31), Anuj Rawat (19.42), Kohli (11.89), Maxwell (18.45), Karthik (18.33), Hasaranga (28.68), Shahbaz, Harshal Patel, Lomror, Siraj, Hazlewood.
Squad: Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Siraj, Faf du Plessis, Harshal Patel, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dinesh Karthik, Anuj Rawat, Shahbaz Ahamad, Akash Deep, Josh Hazlewood, Mahipal Lomror, Finn Allen, Sherfane Rutherashford, Jason Behrai Prandorff, Chason Behrendorff, Milind, Aneeshwar Gautam, Karn Sharma, Siddharth Kaul, Luvnith Sisodia, David Willey
Batting boundary %rank: 5
Game changer Ravi Jadeja
Game logger: MS Dhoni
Strengths: The champs look in decent femttle again. And you could pick three or four for the game-changer slot. Moeen? Ruturaj? Rayudu?
Weaknesses: Dhoni has been slowing them down for a while now. Don’t be fooled by the myth of his captaincy masterstrokes, either. More significant is the loss of pacer Deepak Chahar. He is injured and is likely to miss the whole shebang. There’s few solid replacements it would seem.
Possible XI: Gaikwad (18.22), Conway (17.47), Moeen (18.84), Rayudu (17.30), Jadeja (20.96), Bravo (16.7), Dube, Dhoni, Milne, K Asif, Deshpande
Squad: Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni, Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, Dwayne Bravo, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Simarjeet Singh, Devon Contor, Dvon Contor, Dvon Contor, , Adam Milne, Subhranshu Senapati, Mukesh Choudhary, Prashant Solanki, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Chris Jordan, K Bhagath Varma
Batting boundary %rank: 3
Game changer Rahul Chahar
Game logger: Odean Smith
Strengths: Punjab have assembled one of the best batting line-ups and surely they will make their first appearance in the play-offs. It is the best-balanced squad we can recall. Kagiso Rabada apart there are few star names with the ball but it’s a capable line-up. To that end, Rahul Chahar is a good pick-up.
Weaknesses: West Indies’ talented Odean Smith is a harsh pick as game logger. It’s purely because there’s a lot of pressure on him to perform in the all-rounder role. Can he live up to the hype as the new Dre Russ? It’s harsh to expect him to perform such a pivotal role so early in his IPL career.
Possible XI: Dhawan (17.47), Agarwal (19.40), Bairstow (20.12), Livingstone (18.13), Shahrukh (21.1), Odean Smith (18.37), Harpreet, Sandeep Sharma, Rahul Chahar, Rabada, Arshdeep
Squad: Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Shikhar Dhawan, Kagiso Rabada, Jonny Bairstow, Rahul Chahar, Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Ishan Porel, Liam Livingstone, Odean Smith, Sandeep Sharma, Raj Bawa, Prerak Mankadhawan, Rishi Mankad , Vaibhav Arora, Writtick Chatterjee, Baltej Dhanda, Ansh Patel, Nathan Ellis, Atharva Taide, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Benny Howell
Batting boundary %rank: 7
Game changer Yas Jaiswal
Game logger: Shimron Hetmyer
Strengths: The Royals have done a good job in the auction with the bowling group. They have covered every base. Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna are wicket-takers while Ravi Ashwin and Yuz Chahal (above) can keep it tight. Strong.
Weaknesses: The pay-off are a few holes with the batting. A lot rests on Shimron hetmyer bringing his best game. Not guaranteed. He can’t get in the West Indies teams. Jos Buttler might have to bat at three, too with Dav Padikal better suited to the opening slot with the potentially dangerous Yas Jaiswal.
Possible XI: Buttler (19.35), Jaiswal (20), Paddikal (16.8), Samson (18.74), Hetmyer (16.14), Parag (14.82), Neesham/Mitchell/Coulter-Nile, Ravi Ashwin, Boult, Yuz Chahal, P Krishna
Squad: Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, R Ashwin, Trent Boult, Shimron Hetmyer, Devdutt Padikkal, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal, Riyan Parag, KC Cariappa, Navdeep Saini, Obed McCoy, Anunay Singh, Kuldeep Nahr, Senuv, , Tejas Baroka, Kuldip Yadav, Shubham Garhwal, Jimmy Neesham, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rassie van der Dussen, Daryl Mitchell
Batting boundary %rank: 8
Game changer Marcus Stoinis
Game logger: Manish Bandey
Strengths: Rahul and De Kock have the potential to dovetail perfectly in the opening slot, giving them a great chance for late assaults. That’s what makes Stoinis so important
Weaknesses: Given that strong top two it’s surprising they’ve wasted a wager on another opener, Evin Lewis. That suggests muddled thinking. Likewise the injury to Mark Wood. Who comes in for him? Dusmantha Chameera is solid but there’s not much depth.
Possible XI: Rahul (16.41), De Kock (16.94), Pandey (13.61), Stoinis (19.63), Deepak Hooda (18.43), Krunal (15.62), Holder, Gowtham, Chameera, Bishnoi, Avesh
Squad: KL Rahul, Marcus Stoinis, Ravi Bishnoi, Quinton de Kock, Manish Pandey, Jason Holder, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Mark Wood, Avesh Khan, Ankit Rajpoot, K Gowtham, Dushmanta Chameera, Shahbaz Nadeem, Manan Vohra, Mohsin Khan, Ayush Badoni, Kyle Mayers, Karan Sharma, Evin Lewis, Mayank Yadav, B Sai Sudharsan
Batting boundary %rank: 6
Game changer Rahmanullah Gurbanz
Game logger: Vijay Shankar
Strengths: They’ve got stronger since the mega auction, which is a blessing. Gurbaz is an upgrade on Jason Roy. They needed firepower up front after spending big on Hardik and Rashid Khan. Those two will win them games on their own.
Weaknesses: Hatrdik and Rashid come at a price, meaning Vijay Shankar and Matthew Wade (or possibly David Miller) probably play at numbers three and four. It’s a mess.
Possible XI: Gill (14.53), Gurbaz (25.3), Shankar (12.09), Wade (18.5), Hardik (20.45), Tewatia (15.9), Saha, Rashid Khan, Ferguson, Shami, Varun Aaron
Squad: Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mohammad Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Abhinav Sadarangani, Rahul Tewatia, Noor Ahmad, R Sai Kishore, Dominic Drakes, Jayant Yadav, Viijay Shankar, Darshan Nalkande, Yash Dayal, Alzari Joseph, P Sangwan, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, Gurkeerat Singh, Varun Aaron
Batting boundary %rank: =10
Game changer Abdul Samad
Game logger: Washington Sundar
Strengths: Err… Well, Natarajan is an ace death bowler so that’s a positive. And he should form a decent partnership with Bhuv Kumar again. But much depends on Nic Pooran and Abdul Samad (time for a big season) firing with batting intent.
Weaknesses: They’ve lost Rashid Khan and one of the best IPL bowling units in history has completely broken up. The format has moved on, though and they’ve not moved with the hitting times. They are joint-bottom on boundary percentage rank.
Possible XI: Williamson (14.44), Tripathi (17.06), Pooran (19.78), Samad (18.15), Philips (18.74), Sundar (9.86), Shepherd, Bhuv Kumar, Gopal, Natarajan, Umran Malik
Squad: Kane Williamson, Abdul Samad, Umran Malik, Washington Sundar, Nicholas Pooran, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Priyam Garg, Rahul Tripathi, Abhishek Sharma, Kartik Tyagi, Shreyas Gopal, Jagadeesha Suchith, Aiden Markram, Marco Jansen, Romanio Abpherd, Sea , R Samarth, Shashank Singh, Saurabh Dubey, Vishnu Vinod, Glenn Phillips, Fazalhaq Farooqi
*Boundary percentage last two years in domestic T20