With IPL 2022 now less than a week away, the excitation is palpable and everyone wants to know how the tournament will turn out for their favorite teams.
The IPL mega-auction was a whirlwind of activity. While club managements attempted their best to assemble a dominant roster, each franchise met its minimal player limit. Now, it is up to management and captains to decide how to allocate their resources.
The IPL has been the most sought-after league in the game’s history. Even while international cricket takes precedence, the IPL has long been the go-to venue for anyone looking to make a name for themselves. It will be fascinating to witness how a new age unfolds.
With Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar securing multimillion-dollar agreements, they would be eager to help their squad over the finish line. Additionally, the Rajasthan Royals have a fresh appearance, and supporters are hoping for a comeback.
In this article, we are going to delve into controversial waters and predict the final standing of each of the ten teams at the end of the tournament.
Number 10. Gujarat Titans
Gujarat Lions made a fantastic option in selecting Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, and Rashid Khan as their draft selections. However, as the bidding at the table proceeded, it became evident that they lacked preparation. They were at a loss as to whom to choose and whom to abandon.
This truth is reinforced by the fact that they were without wicketkeepers until the last few hours of the auction. As a wicketkeeper is a critical role, they needed to fill it. Moving on, the middle order lacks firepower, as David Miller and Hardik Pandya may be under too much strain.
They do, however, have an excellent bowling combination in Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, and Alzarri Joseph. Hardik Pandya will need to rotate his bowlers in order to avoid exhaustion during the competition. Rashid Khan’s experience will also be invaluable.
All of this put together makes us feel that the Gujarat Titans will finish the tournament at the very bottom of the table.
Number 9. Sunrisers Hyderabad
The team from Hyderabad did not have the bets of auctions this year. Firstly, they failed to win bidding wars for marquee players and then they had some lukewarm success with the youngsters as well.
The big names on their shopping list are Nicholas Pooran and Aiden Markram. Pooran’s inconsistency, on the other hand, will undoubtedly hurt the Sunrisers. Furthermore, Markram must play every game for Kane Williamson, to be effective.
Marco Jansen and Washington Sundar are the stars of the game. Aside from that, Kane will have to rely on Abhishek Sharma and Shreyas Gopal constantly throughout the season. To reach the top four, SRH will need to win those tight games.
All in all, the Sunrisers do not look as formidable as they did a few seasons ago and as such, we don’t see them climbing too high on the table.
Number 8. Lucknow Super Giants
The Lucknow Super Giants had a bit of a mixed bag in terms of the auction.
All eyes were on LSG to build a solid team from the ground up after they selected three superstars in the form of KL Rahul, Ravi Bishnoi, and Marcus Stoinis. They had a cricketing genius in the form of Gautam Gambhir. They were composed and calm from the start, and they were able to assemble a decent team.
Despite the fact that they might have done better, LSG signed Avesh Khan for a hefty INR 10 crores. However, this buy appears to be expensive. Apart from that, Dushmantha Chameera and Evin Lewis were chosen.
Quinton de Kock was the finest of their bidders. Seeing him bat with KL Rahul will be a joy. They’ve also managed to secure Mark Wood as a specialised fast bowler. All of this does indicate that they have the ability to go deep into the tournament, but there are a few teams who have a more settled and balanced side with the experience to win trophies, which is why the first season for the Lucknow side will be a difficult one.
Number 7. Kolkata Knight Riders
This was the poorest IPL auction in Kolkata’s history. They had no notion who to choose. They were able to bring in Shreyas Iyer and Pat Cummins since they had a large sum of money. The main focus, though, will be on their performance on game day.
They went with Shreyas Iyer and Nitish Rana since they both have a similar approach to their game. This could stifle the momentum in their favour. They made a comeback on the second day, despite having a poor day at work.
They were able to purchase Alex Hales and Sam Billings on the second day. This was the only thing they had going for them. They have also picked Shreyas Iyer as their captain, and recent form indicates that he will be in a position to create an impact in every game. But, we fear that they will suffer a case of over reliance on Iyer and end up in the bottom half of the table.
Number 6. Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Royal Challengers Bangalore are a team who have undergone some major changes, especially in the captaincy department. We found it a bit odd that the RCB decided to go for Faf as their captain. Yes, he does have the experience to do the job but, he is coming in for his first season, and there are some who feel that RCB should have gone for someone who was part of the system a little longer. The team will be hoping to see Virat Kohli return to his free scoring form as the pressure of captaincy is gone. In terms of the overall auction also, the RCB has a rather modest outing.
Even though they made a mistake during the first portion of the auction, they made a tremendous return in the second half. They were able to get the services of Faf du Plessis and Wanindu Hasaranga. This time, it appears that RCB have a strategy in place.
Aside from that, players like Sherfane Rutherford and Finn Allen are great buys. When it comes to bowling, Harshal Patel and Siraj will be leading the charge. On paper, this team is definitely one to watch, but overall, we still feel that they are missing a bit of magic in the squad to go all the way.
Number 5. Mumbai Indians
The serial winners of the IPL entered into this mega auction with one intention – Buy back Ishan Kishan. Obviously he is a signing for the long term, but his overall see saw run of form and injury prone nature makes him a bit of a mixed bag signing. If he gets firing, then the Mumbai Indians will rejoice at their 15.5 crore masterclass. However, if he is injured in the process, it will be a big burden on the side.
When we look at the rest of their auction performance, we can see that it was poor at best. They have an outstanding pool of international talent this time around. In the next IPL, we’ll see the bowling duo of Bumrah and Archer.
Apart from that, Tymal Mills serves as their backup pacer. It was frustrating to see them simply give up on Avesh Khan and Kartik Tyagi, despite the fact that their Indian bowling team appears to be frail on paper. Because Kieron Pollard is nearing the end of his career, the middle order is vulnerable.
They have invested in Dewald Brevis, the U19 superstar when it comes to good purchases. It’ll be interesting to see how they make use of their resources this time. The Mumbai Indians project is one that will take a couple of seasons to see fruition and this season, unfortunately, we don’t think that they will make it to the play-offs.
Number 4. Chennai Super Kings
We are very conflicted about this choice as it could go to MI or even RCB if they put in the work, but for now, we are going to give the 4th spot to the reigning champions, the Chennai Super Kings. In the mega auction, the Super Kings concentrated on bringing back players who were a part of the CSK program. The problem with this approach is that most of the players who were purchased are either old or not in form, or both. Their reliance on experience has made them one of the most successful franchises of the IPL, but it looks like the squad will need MSD’s leadership to marshall the players and play as a unit to get to the latter stages of the tournament.
Apart from the buybacks, they have invested in Rajvardhan Hangargekar, the Under-19 standout. MS Dhoni may give an all-rounder proper opportunity, and India may secure their specialist all-rounder. To be sure, teams like CSK have a track record of consistency, and it will be intriguing to see how things unfold this time around.
Number 3. Rajasthan Royals
The Rajasthan Royals made the most advantageous acquisitions during this auction. This time, they’ve acquired Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, and Trent Boult, a fast bowler. They made it abundantly obvious that they desired some high-profile players in this auction.
With the inclusion of Riyan Parag, the selectors have demonstrated their will to develop future stars. Apart from that, by including Shimron Hetmyer in the roster, they have assured that they have a backup in case of an overseas loss. This is critical because they were severely lacking in Ben Stokes the last time around.
They brought in some huge names during the closing stages of the auction, including Rassie van der Dussen, Jimmy Neesham, and Nathan Coulter-Nile. If the management selects the best possible starting XI, they will be unbeatable this season. It will be fascinating to witness Jos Buttler and Ravi Ashwin together on the field. The mood in the camp seems good and we expect to see them work as a unit and go deep into the tournament.
Number 2. Punjab Kings
It’s safe to say that PBKS did their homework for this auction. They made poor retention decisions, but things worked out in their favour once the auction concluded. The Kings have covered all of their bases and fielded the second-best team this time around.
There is little doubt that over the years, there have been concerns with PBKS team selection. However, once they find the correct combination, things may work in their favour. Punjab may revert to the force it was in 2014.
With Dhawan, Bairstow, Mayank, Livingstone, and Shahrukh at the top of the order, the opposition must devise a strategy to contain this group. Apart from that, Raj Bawa has been chosen to fill the role of the star U19 player in a line-up.
Number 1. Delhi Capitals
This season, the Delhi Capitals have the best team. They kicked off the auction with a bang, bidding INR 6.5 crore for David Warner. This means that we will once again see the duo of Shaw and Warner.
DC should win the championship with a top-notch group. However, once the competition begins, everything changes dramatically. They have Sarfaraz Khan, who recently made a century in a domestic game, and Mustafizur Rahman, who could prove to be cheap purchases. Even without a premier spinner, the spin department can function by grooming other players.
Additionally, their sole small flaw is their backup. However, given their fitness level this season, this should not be an issue. Captain Pant’s performance will also be critical to their prospects of winning the trophy this time around.