April 8, 2011

IPL Season 4 - Group B Preview

   Kolkata Knight Riders:
   The Dark Knight! A complete white wash in the team and new look and feel (mostly Dilli-wallas) some key foreign purchases KKR will be hoping for some change in fortunes as well. After controversially dumping Dada for some multi-captaincy theory and then falling on their bum making him the man in charge to not bidding for him in the player auctions. WOW! quite a ride to be honest. This year they have a lot that is talented and have quite a reputation. Wonder if this season is make or break for the owners. Since, KKR is the only team from the previous 8 that is yet to make it to a semi-finals in the IPL. They made the biggest purchase during the auctions that of Gautam mommy loves Gambhir now named their captain, for 2.4m$. And the prize catch of Yusuf Killer Pathan for another 2.1m$ Phew!! Kallis being their third million dollar baby. Some very smart picks in the domestic players now makes the team a contender for the semis at least!
Captain: Gautam Gambhir
Players Retained: Nil
Key Players: Yusuf Pathan, Eoin Morgan,
Dark Horse: Iqbal Abdulla,Ryan Ten Doeschate, Sourav Ganguly (well of course)
Group A: Deccan Chargers

   Royal Challengers Bangalore:
   Where KKR have many DD's domestic players, Dr. Mallya's men seemed to have robbed the Daredevils in broad daylight. They have Daniel Vettori their new captain, Dirk Nannes, Dilshan, AB De Villiers all from the Delhi Darevils Geeez! Well then again RCB lost all their merry men in Robin, Rahul, Pandey, Steyn none of whom they retained when they had a choice. Apart from the Dilli-walas there is Ex-RCB man Zaheer who makes a come back to his IPL team after swapping to the Mumbai Indians squad for Robin Uthapa. Immensely talented (and slightly over rated) Cheteshwar Pujara, trying to show his tools in T20 cricket and U-23 player of IPL season 3 Saurabh Tiwary and Once upon a time in Indian team Md. Kaif are in the squad as well. Which helps their batting but who are their bowling options?
Captain: Daniel Vettori
Players Retained: Virat Kohli
Key Players: Zaheer Khan, AB De Villiers, Dirk Nannes
Dark Horse: Saurabh Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Arun Karthik
Group A: Group A: Kings XI Punjab

   Rajasthan Royals:
  The winners of the inaugural IPL, Royals have not had a sweet time in the middle. After being almost kicked out like the KxiP they too have been fortunate to get the mercy plea from! the courts. Although, they did retain skip Warney and talisman Watto it doesn’t explain why they didn’t retain their mojo man Yusuf Pathan. As a result the bidders went bezerk and only KKR could afford him at over 2m$. The Royals look thinner than before only occasional Ross Taylor, the seasoned Rahul Dravid, useful Johan Botha, off target Tait a few names to reckon. Addition of in-form Jacob Oram must be good news for the Royals who replaced Collingwood due to injury. They have done some wild recruiting in the domestic circuit though. Getting some top catches like Rahane, and their usual suspects like Sid Trivedi. A couple from the last years Ranji season heros like Meneria, Chahar. Despite having 3 seasons of experience Royals have done well to remain underdogs.
Captain: Shane Warne
Players Retained: Shane Warne, Shane Watson
Key Players: Shane Watson, Ross Taylor, Rahul Dravid
Dark Horse: Deepak Chahar, Jacob Oram, Ashok Meneria
Group A: Group A: Mumbai Indians

   Chennai Super Kings:
   MS Dhoni’s yellow army had a perfect 2010 season where they won the IPL and the CLT20. The onus is upon them to make their owners proud again. The owners too haven’t played much with the team balance. They tried hard to buy back as many players from their previous winning combination. In the process they seemed to have over priced some of their own players and bought them at a premium if not more. They did lose some of their talent like L Balaji, Muralitharan, Parthiv Patel and did not go for Jacob Oram or Mathew Hayden. Their new additions were pretty impressive but injuries seemed to have plagued them just before the tournament. Bravo, Hilfenhaus, Bailey, Bollinger the main accused. They have found solace in Southee and Tharanga who seemed to have put their best suit on during the WC. T20 is an altogether different ball game, a change in mind set. So, far no team has been able to defend their title successfully. Let’s see if the champs still have it in them.
Captain: MS Dhoni
Players Retained: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Albie Morkel, Murali Vijay
Key Players: R Ashwin, Mike Hussey, Suresh Raina
Dark Horse: Tim Southee, Suraj Randiv, Abhinav Mukund  
Group A: Pune Warriors India

   Kochi Tuskers Kerala:
   The newbie in Group B will have a tough task in their debut season against the seasoned pros like CSK and RCB. They had some over the roof bidding technique throughout the auctioning. The pattern was tougher to crack than the Da Vinci Code. They did end up with a strong domestic bowlers list and some key hitters from the foreign buys. Murali's fitness will be alarming but they will be hoping he's fit for some part of the tournament. The only team which can accomodate VVS with a Brendon McCullum then add Muralitharan with a Steve Smith a little bit of Romesh Powar and top it off with Ravindra Jadeja... and well of course the home grown Sreesanth. WOW!! Whether the odd mixture gels well, will be keenly studied.
Captain: Mahela Jayawardene
Players Retained: Not Applicable
Key Players: Muralitharan, Brendon McCullum, RP Singh
Dark Horse: John Hastings, Kedar Jadhav, Vinay Kumar
Group A: Delhi Daredevils

   It seems the Group B is well stacked with 2 former champions. Unlike Pune Warriors, Kochi Tuskers have their hands full and don’t look all that deadly to handle. Since it isn’t about topping Group A and Group B separately the ten teams will realize they cannot afford slip ups. The top 4 will only make the cut and there are no consolation prizes. That’s that then, wishing you all a fun-tastic and fooper IPL. The entertainment just got a little dirty!
p.s. - Who are your key players to watch out for in the IPL4. Share with us in the comments section. Cheers!

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