With two new teams and a whole lot of changes, who will succeed in this year’s Indian Premier League?
BANGALORE ROYAL CHALLENGERS Top batsmen: AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Tillakaratne Dilshan Top bowlers: Zaheer Khan, Dirk Nannes, Daniel Vettori Best finish: Runners-up, 2009 Last year: Third Chances: World Cup top run-scorer Dilshan and ever-dangerous De Villiers make a tasty combo. They have a chance of success.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS Top batsmen: Suresh Raina, Mike Hussey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Scott Styris, Dwayne Bravo Top bowlers: Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus, Albie Morkel Best finish: Winners, last year Chances: Last year’s champions will expect to at least return to the semi-finals after retaining their core, including captain Dhoni.
DECCAN CHARGERS Top batsmen: Kumar Sangakkara, Cameron White, JP Duminy Top bowlers: Ishant Sharma, Dale Steyn Best finish: Winners, 2009 Last year: Fourth Chances: The loss of Kevin Pietersen through injury will hurt. Sri Lanka lefty Sangakkara and South Africa paceman Steyn represent their best chance of success.
DELHI DAREDEVILS Top batsmen: Virender Sehwag, David Warner Top bowlers: Morne Morkel, Irfan Pathan, Roelof van der Merwe Best finish: Semi-finalists 2008, 2009 Last year: Fifth (did not progress) Chances: Depth is a worry but an opening partnership of Sehwag and Warner is as strong as any.
KINGS XI PUNJAB Top batsmen: Shaun Marsh, David Hussey, Adam Gilchrist Top bowlers: Ryan Harris, Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla Best finish: Semi-finalists 2008 Last year: Eighth (did not progress ) Chances: It could be an uphill task to avoid a repeat of last year’s rock-bottom finish with an ageing Gilchrist and injury to England stars Stuart Broad and Dimitri Mascarenhas.
KOCHI TUSKERS KERALA Top batsmen: Mahela Jayawardene, VVS Laxman, Brendon McCullum, Brad Hodge Top bowlers: Muttiah Muralitharan, Shantha Sreesanth, RP Singh Best finish: New team Last year: New team Chances: Will be eying the semi-finals if Sri Lankans Jayawardene and Muralitharan are firing.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS Top batsmen: Gautam Gambhir, Eoin Morgan, Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Brad Haddin Top bowlers: Brett Lee, Shakib Al Hasan Best finish: Sixth 2008, 2010 Last year: Sixth (did not progress) Chances: Outside bets. New boys Morgan and Shakib will complement Gambhir and Kallis.
MUMBAI INDIANS Top batsmen: Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Andrew Symonds Top bowlers: Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Munaf Patel, James Franklin Best finish: Runners-up, 2010 Last year: Runners-up Chances: Tendulkar, Pollard and Symonds will be hoping to go one better than last year’s runner-up spot. World Cup finalists Harbhajan and Malinga could help the team flourish.
PUNE WARRIORS Top batsmen: Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Graeme Smith, Jesse Ryder Top bowlers: Ashish Nehra, Murali Kartik, Wayne Parnell Best finish: New team Last year: New team Chances: How well the newcomers do will depend on the arrivals of Yuvraj, Ryder and Smith. The loss of Angelo Mathews through injury hurts the team.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS Top batsmen: Ross Taylor, Rahul Dravid, Shane Watson Top bowlers: Shane Warne, Johan Botha, Shaun Tait Best finish: Winners 2008 Last year: Seventh (did not progress) Chances: Watson’s form with bat and ball is the key to any success. Taylor is expected to flourish but Warne is past his best and Englishman Paul Collingwood is almost certain to miss the whole tournament through injury.