IPL 2011: Rating All the Teams, Part 2
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In my last article, we looked at five of the teams the IPL has to offer this year, and the key players on their squad that could make them reach top honours. Let's look at the other five teams in the IPL looking to make a difference: Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab, Kochi Tuskers Kerala and the Delhi Daredevils.
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They were the best team in the third season of IPL, only to be outdone by some Dhoni magic in the finals. They have done the wise thing by retaining their best players, while purchasing some real matchwinners. This team looks arguably better than their side last year, and there is no doubts that it possesses the best middle order of the tournament, with real matchwinners in Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Andrew Symonds. And of course, the man, the icon of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar. He will be hungry to win this after being so close last year.
He was the highest run scorer in the third season of the IPL, and showed us that it isn't all about slam bang and that proper cricketing shots can win you matches. He is the best player in the world, and winning the World Cup will not make him complacent. He is an inspirational leader and will need to be in top form. But speaking of slam bang...
Kieron Pollard and Andrew Symonds
When we look at these players, they are very similar. Brilliant fielders, astute bowlers, but most importantly, players who can clear the boundaries with effortless ease. These two will form the crux of the middle order and with those two, you can expect fireworks in the end of each Mumbai Indians batting innings.
Some people say he's lost some of his rhythm and bowls more to contain than attack in the ODI format. But Bhajji is one of the most competitive players on the planet, and he will form the spin spearhead of this Mumbai Indians bowling department. His wicket-taking ability will come to the fore if Mumbai Indians are to lift the IPL trophy.
With Zak gone to Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai have acquired a rather inferior version of him in Munaf Patel. Sure, Munaf Patel is economical but does he possess that wicket-taking ability that Zaheer Khan does? Well, Lasith Malinga can take wickets at will and with Zaheer Khan not combining with him, added pressure will be on this flamboyant fast-bowler to perform.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
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As an RCB fan, I wish they had retained the deadly Ross Taylor but this side looks more balanced than the side they had for the last 3 years, with quality batsmen in Dilshan, de Villiers and Virat Kohli, and quality bowlers in Vettori, Nannes and Zaheer. Here is a team that is balanced in every department and has an aura of solidity imprinted on it. It could make it all the way and achieve what they failed to do in IPL 2009.
Dilshan is one of the most deadliest players in T20 today. His patented Dilscoop could be the official shot of T20 cricket. It represents everything about T20 cricket: audacity, creativity and control. He is also a great fielder and a handy T20 spinner as well, making it practically the perfect package.
India's great hope for the future. This tournament will be very interesting for Virat Kohli as he will need to understand his role for RCB. Will he be the anchor of the innings as he is for the ODI team, or will he step it up a notch and be an attacking batsmen we know he has the capability of becoming? Only time will tell.
Dirk Nannes and Zaheer Khan
In Zaheer Khan and Dirk Nannes, RCB probably have the best opening bowlers in the tournament. They perform a perfect yin-yang couplet, with Nannes' raw pace proving a danger to any batsmen while Zaheer Khan's guile and experience unsettling even the best. Get ready to be rocked, opposition's openers.
A true allrounder, he can be handy if RCB lose a couple of wickets on the trot and is miserly with the ball. With him taking the captain's helm, expect RCB to be more aggressive and go for that extra mile in every game.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala
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Another new side to this year's IPL, and it might take them some time to achieve success. They do have some glittering names, starting with the man who scored possibly the classiest World Cup Final century ever, Mahela Jayawardena. He will take up the helm of the Kochi team, and he possesses in his helm talented but inconsistent players in the form of Thisara Perera, Brendon McCullum, Sreesanth and RP Singh.
You cannot set a perfect field for Mahela Jayawardena. That is all. He is the most innovative player of today, and is a shining leader. He will form the mainstay of the Kochi middle order, and he will need to lead these players very well if they are to make an impact in this year's IPL.
Who can forget the blinder he played in the inaugral match of the IPL? That still remains to date the highest individual score in a T20 match. But apart from that 158, I do not recall McCullum playing many other telling innings for the KKR. He is a brilliant player in his day, but those days need to come fast and quick if Kochi are to do anything this year.
Kochi's fortunes may just depend on what Sreesanth shows up in this tournament. Will it be the cocky Sreesanth who can get the best of the best out with intimidation, or will it be the arrogant Sreesanth who can get whacked for 20+ runs in an over? Being the spearhead of the bowling attack, Mahela Jayawardena will need to get this mercurial bowler's head right.
I have never been a fan of Jadeja. He cannot bat properly, he cannot bowl properly. He is a bits and pieces player at best and it was appaling to see him in the ODI setup for so long with talents like R Ashwin and Virat Kohli warming the benches. He was kicked out of IPL 3 for illegally talking to Mumbai Indians. It is time for Jadeja to prove me and all his doubters wrong.
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Okay, lets get down to the point. They possess the best opening pair in the IPL, possibly the world's best seamer currently, but there's not much more than that. They don't possess enough Indian quality and this is a far cry from the balanced team they had in the first three seasons. They need the openers to fire or there will be trouble. And in the bowling deparment, they lack a quality spinner, so important in that placid Kotla track.
Virender Sehwag and David Warner
Its simple. These two will have to perform in every game for Delhi Daredevils to even stand a chance. If both of them get out quickly, it exposes the extremely weak middle order. However, these two are effervescent players and get ready for some fireworks when these two play.
He thrives on bounce. The best seam bowler in the world today, but it will be interesting how much bounce the South African can access from the Kotla track where the Daredevils will play 7 of their 14 matches. If the Kotla wicket doesn't provide bounce, Morkel may end up being a one-trick pony.
Daredevils spent a lot of money on this lad, and this will be an acid test for him. Will be prove to be a has been who has no chance of getting back to the talented Indian team, or will he be rejuvenated in this IPL? He needs to perform with both bat and ball. We know he is a big hitter, but his bowling will be more under the scanner.
Kings XI Punjab
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Kings XI Punjab will be kicking themselves for not retaining some of their players. Yuvraj Singh, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena are now captains for their current teams and if Kings XI Punjab had retained these stars along with buying Gilchrist, they would be serious contenders. Now, they possess fringe Indian players in Abhishek Nayar, Piyush Chawla, Dinesh Karthik and Praveen Kumar who would be keen for the selectors to keep an eye for them. Gilchrist will need to play out of their skin.
He hasn't played international cricket for 3 years, but he's still got that swagger and nonchalance that made him one of the most dangerous players of the game. He will need to fire up top to get Kings XI to challenging totals, as their bowling looks a little weak.
A far more talented batsmen and bowler than Ravindra Jadeja will ever be. He has had niggling injuries in his career but he is crafted for this format of the game. Will be one of the mainstays in the middle order along with David Hussey.
He is the finisher of the Australian cricket team. The IPL has really put him on the map from being in brother Michael's shadows to being a constant member of the Australian side. His bowling, batting and fielding will all come into hand. That blinder of a catch he took for KKR last season shows how great of a cricketing brain he has.
Thank You for Reading
With this article, all the teams of the IPL are covered. I wish all the teams the best and let the best team win.