Richard Mann gives his verdict on each franchise in this season’s Indian Premier League, which begins on Friday.
Chennai Super Kings
Sky Bet odds: 8/1
IPL 2022: Ninth in League Table
Squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Moeen Ali, Bhagath Varma, Deepak Chahar, Devon Conway (wk), Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Sisanda Magala, Ajay Mandal, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Dwaine Pretorius, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed, Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Simarjeet Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Ben Stokes, Maheesh Theekshana
Overview: Last season was a disaster for Chennai Super Kings whose fourth IPL title had come only a year earlier. Ravi Jadeja’s captaincy didn’t last the duration of the campaign and MS Dhoni was soon back at the helm, as he is this year. Sisanda Magala’s late signing following injury to Kyle Jamieson looks good business, but expect CSK’s modus operandi with the ball to be all about spin. They certainly have that covered, while the top order is strong. Ben Stokes adds the x-factor, though it must be remembered that Sam Curran was their number one choice for an overseas all-rounder, and Stokes’ troublesome knee could handicap player and team.
Star man: Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad remains one of the brightest talents in Indian cricket, and he delivered on his immense potential when finishing IPL 2022 as the tournament’s leading runscorer, his final tally of 635 runs helping CSK to another IPL title. Things didn’t go quite as well last year and the team’s results suffered as a consequence, but nobody should doubt Gaikwad’s quality of play all around the ground, and his opening partnership with Devon Conway promises much.
Name to note: Ajay Mandal
When it comes to identifying and nurturing homegrown talent, CSK have been one of the best franchises in the history of the IPL. Left arm spinner Ajay Mandal might be the next cab off the rank having enhanced his strong domestic record with both bat and ball this season. Those strong performances persuaded CSK to add Mandal to their roster at the auction in December, and he could prove a real surprise package in the coming weeks.
Sky Bet odds: 6/1
IPL 2022: Fifth in League Table
Squad: David Warner (capt), Khaleel Ahmed, Aman Khan, Yash Dhull, Praveen Dubey, Sarfaraz Khan, Kuldeep Yadav, Lalit Yadav, Mitchell Marsh, Mukesh Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Vicky Ostwal, Manish Pandey, Ripal Patel, Axar Patel, Rovman Powell, Rilee Rossouw, Chetan Sakariya, Phil Salt, Ishant Sharma, Prithvi Shaw
Overview: Under the tutelage of head coach of Ricky Ponting, Delhi Capitals have become one of the strongest and most reliable outfits in the IPL. Even last season, when only finishing fifth in the regular season, they had their moments having gone close 12 months earlier and finished runners-up in 2020. Ponting has put his faith in Australians David Warner and Mitchell Marsh, but both come with question marks this year, the former having endured another lean trot in recent times that suggests his star is on the wane, while the latter is seemingly never too far away from injury. The Capitals will need to keep star paceman Anrich Nortje fit, too. The biggest cause for concern, however, is the absence of Rishabh Pant for the season after he was involved in a serious car accident a few months ago. That leaves the side with a huge hole to fill and while Ponting won’t easily settle for mediocrity, there are too many drawbacks with this squad to suggest they can finally break their IPL duck this year.
Star man: Anrich Nortje
The one constant in Capitals’ upturn on fortunes in the last few years has been pace spearhead Nortje who has consistently been their most reliable performer when fit. Tall, quick, and unwaveringly accurate, injury has been the only thing to hold Nortje back in the IPL. If he can stay fit for the duration of the competition, the Capitals will be in a much better place.
Name to note: Axar Patel
Axar Patel is a household name now, given his exploits for India’s Test team, but his lower-order batting in all formats has become a priceless commodity. Having struck at 151.67 in IPL 2022, Axar might be worth regularly following at big prices in the top Capitals match batsman market.
Sky Bet odds: 11/2
IPL 2022: 1st in League Table, Won final
Squad: Hardik Pandya (capt), Shubman Gill, Rahul Tewatia, Mohammed Shami, Shivam Mavi, Yash Dayal, R Sai Kishore, Abhinav Manohar, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Jayant Yadav, Vijay Shankar, KS Bharat (wk), Mohit Sharma, Darshan Nalkande, Urvil Patel, Sai Sudharsan, Pradeep Sangwan, Rashid Khan, David Miller, Matthew Wade (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Kane Williamson, Josh Little, Odean Smith, Noor Ahmad
Overview: Somehow, Gujarat Titans look even stronger this year, with Kane Williamson and Josh Little adding quality and experience. Williamson might not be an ideal fit for T20 nowadays, but he’s a reliable back-up and having him around the squad will have untold benefits for the younger players. The core of last season’s title winning side remains, with captain Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, David Miller and Rashid Khan helping form a formidable best XI. They must go close again.
Star man: Hardik Pandya
A few runners here but Hardik is not only the Titans captain, but he is their leader and talisman. Last year, Hardik made 487 runs over the duration of the season, displaying a mature, more responsible side to his game we had seldom seen from him previously. His bowling was good, too, despite concerns about the durability of his body, and he should continue to lead from the front.
Name to note: Josh Little
Little announced himself on the world stage when staring for Ireland at the T20 World Cup in late 2022, bagging 11 wickets in seven matches and impressing with his zippy pace and ability to swing the new ball back into the right handers. A tall man whose left-arm angle means he also offers priceless variation at the death, Little isn’t one to be underestimated in the top Titans bowler market whenever he gets the call to start.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Sky Bet odds: 10/1
IPL 2022: Seventh in League Table
Squad: Vaibhav Arora, Lockie Ferguson, Harshit Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, N Jagadeesan, Kulwant Khejroliya, Litton Das, Mandeep Singh, Sunil Narine, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Nitish Rana, Anukul Roy, Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Rinku Singh, Tim Southee, Suyash Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, David Wiese, Umesh Yadav, Shreyas Iyer
Overview: Despite having so much going for them on paper, IPL 2022 was one to forget for Kolkata Knight Riders. Chopping and changing their starting XI after a bad result didn’t help, nor did the lack of certainty around who were their first-choice overseas players. Perhaps the appointment of respected coach Chadrakant Pandit will offer some much-needed stability, and as ever, the potential is there if the likes of Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and David Wiese click. Consistency might hold them back again, however.
Star man: Sunil Narine
With over 150 IPL wickets to his name, it’s fair to say that Narine is a giant of this prestigious competition. Despite initially struggling to adapt to his remodelled action, Narine’s economy rate was down at a staggering 5.57 in the 2022 edition as he looked to be right back to his best. His dangerous batting at the top of the order can also be very handy and he has filled that role with some success in the past – as four IPL fifties and a strike-rate of 162.70 confirms.
Name to note: Venkatesh Iyer
Venkatesh Iyer endured a horror IPL in 2022, but a year earlier the dashing left-hander had taken the competition by storm as he amassed 370 runs from 10 matches, at an average 41.11. KKR made the final that year, and the richly-talented Iyer will need to get back on track if his side are to pack a punch again this season.
Lucknow Super Giants
Sky Bet odds: 13/2
IPL 2022: 3rd in League Table; lost in Eliminator
Squad: KL Rahul (capt), Avesh Khan, Ayush Badoni, Quinton de Kock (wk), K Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Prerak Mankad, Kyle Mayers, Amit Mishra, Mohsin Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Krunal Pandya, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Ravi Bishnoi, Daniel Sams, Karan Sharma, Romario Shepherd, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, Manan Vohra, Mark Wood, Mayank Yadav, Yash Thakur, Yudhvir Singh
Overview: Very much the surprise package of last season and there is every reason to expect another strong campaign, if not a title-winning one, this time around. Naveen-ul-Haq looks an excellent pick-up, but history suggests that the big-money signing of Nicholas Pooran is no guarantee to success. Indian contingent KL Rahul, Deepak Hooda and Krunal Pandya will again shoulder plenty of responsibility, but that’s no bad thing and perhaps nailing down their best four overseas picks will be of more concern.
Star man: When it comes to IPL runscorers, few can match Rahul whose record in this competition is outstanding. A giant for Punjab Kings, Rahul moved seamlessly into his new role as Super Giants captain last season and stroked another 616 runs. In the previous two years, Rahul scored 626 and 670 runs respectively. Expect more of the same in the coming weeks.
Name to note: The best bit of business at the latest auction might prove to be Super Giants’ signing of Afghanistan seamer Naveen-ul-Haq. At the time of writing, Naveen has 34 T20I wickets from only 27 matches, with an economy rate of 8.10 belying the responsibility he generally shoulders at the death. Don’t miss him in the top Super Giants bowler markets.
Sky Bet odds: 6/1
IPL 2022: Bottom of League Table
Squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), Suryakumar Yadav, Tim David, Dewald Brevis, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (wk), Tristan Stubbs, Vishnu Vinod, Cameron Green, Arjun Tendulkar, Ramandeep Singh, Shams Mulani, Nehal Wadhera, Hrithik Shokeen, Arshad Khan, Duan Jansen, Piyush Chawla, Kumar Kartikeya, Raghav Goyal, Jofra Archer, Jason Behrendorff, Akash Madhwal
Overview: No franchise has won more IPL titles than Mumbai Indians’ five, but last year once again illustrated that nothing lasts forever. The Pandya brothers have gone, Kieron Pollard has been relegated to the backroom staff, while Jasprit Bumrah will miss the whole of this season through injury. Jhye Richardson, another on the injury list, won’t even make it to India, meaning the bowling looks particularly light. As such, so much will be expected of Jofra Archer whom Mumbai invested heavily in a couple of years ago, despite his own injury concerns. The batting at least has plenty going for it. Captain Rohit Sharma will look to set the tone at the top of the order, with the likes of Dewald Brevis, Suryakumar Yadav, Tim David, and Tilak Varma help form a formidable top six which will need to compensate for that depleted bowling attack.
Star man: Jofra Archer
So keen were Mumbai Indians to acquire the services of Archer, they added him to their roster in the knowledge the England paceman would miss the whole of IPL 2022 due to a serious back injury. Now it’s payback time, and with Jasprit Bumrah recently ruled out for the season, expectations will be high. Fear not, Archer looked very sharp in the SA20 and for England against South Africa and Bangladesh in recent months. In 35 matches for former franchise Rajasthan Royals, Archer took 46 IPL wickets at 21.33.
Name to note: Tilak Varma
Varma wouldn’t be a household name just yet, but he announced himself on the big stage with 397 runs his debut IPL season last year. An aggressive left-hander, Varma has some big shoes to fill given the middle order giants that came before him for Mumbai, but he looks a real talent who ought to go under the radar for betting purposes.
Sky Bet odds: 8/1
IPL 2022: Sixth in League Table
Squad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Matthew Short, Prabhsimran Singh (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Shahrukh Khan, Sikandar Raza, Raj Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Nathan Ellis, Baltej Singh, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Shivam Singh, Mohit Rathee
Overview: A quick look at the squad list confirms once again that Punjab Kings have assembled a star-studded roster. Sam Curran was the player every franchise wanted at the auction and Kings broke the bank to get him. His teaming up with fellow Englishman Liam Livingstone promises much, but having no Jonny Bairstow is a blow. Kagiso Rabada is expected to lead the bowling attack, but that is an area that looks light. Furthermore, as exciting as the batting is, balancing intent with match awareness was a real issue last season. The potential remains, but whether Kings are hard and smart enough to handle the pressure cooker at the business end of the competition is a doubt.
Star man: Arshdeep Singh
Forget the marquee overseas stars, Arshdeep Singh is the main man at Punjab Kings. A brilliant death bowler with a full bag of tricks, Arshdeep has improved out of sight with the new ball and has gained a yard of pace, too. Arshdeep took 18 wickets in 2021 and though not quite as potent last year, his economy rate was down at 7.70. A fine bowler.
Name to note: Sikandar Raza
Though all eyes will be Curran and Livingstone, Sikandar Raza might yet prove to be Punjab Kings’ key overseas player. Outstanding for Zimbabwe at the T20 World Cup in Australia, Raza has since excelled in the Pakistan Super League where his explosive middle order batting and underrated spin bowling proved invaluable assets.
Sky Bet odds: 7/1
IPL 2022: 2nd in League Table; lost in Final
Squad: Jos Buttler (wk), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (capt, wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Joe Root, Dhruv Jurel (wk), Donovan Ferreira, Kunal Singh Rathore, Jason Holder, Akash Vasisht, Abdul Basith, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Ashwin, Adam Zampa, KC Cariappa, M Ashwin, Trent Boult, Navdeep Saini, Obed McCoy, Kuldeep Sen, Kuldip Yadav, KM Asif
Overview: Rajasthan Royals enjoyed a fine campaign in 2022, finishing second in the League Table before losing to Gujarat Titans in the final. Much was made of their reliance on Jos Buttler, who scored 863 runs in a remarkable season, but there is no shortage of quality in a batting line-up that also features Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer and Devdutt Padikkal. The bowling has most bases covered, too, with Ravi Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Adam Zampa the main spin options, and left arm quick Trent Boult expected to open the bowling. Perhaps having a top-class Indian pacer in their ranks would have helped, but this squad has far fewer holes than most. Another deep run beckons.
Star man: Jos Buttler
863 runs featuring a four hundreds confirmed Buttler as IPL Player of the Tournament in 2022 and once again, he remains crucial to Rajasthan Royals’ title hopes. Buttler hauled his team to the final 12 months ago with scores of 50+ in 17 matches, often playing with care at the top of the order before exploding later in the innings. Such an approach hasn’t always been the Buttler way – don’t forget he spent much of the early part of his career as a finisher – but he knows this role well now and should continue to make hay.
Name to note: Kuldeep Sen
With Prasidh Krishna to miss the entirety of the competition through injury, Rajasthan Royals will need their seamers to step up – particularly their Indian contingent. One man who might just fill that void is Kuldeep Sen who took eight wickets in a promising debut season last term. International honours followed a few months later and though still having much to learn, his recent numbers in T20 cricket suggest he has taken another big step forward since last year’s competition.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Sky Bet odds: 13/2
IPL 2022: 4th in League Table; lost in Qualifier
Squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Siraj, Harshal Patel, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shahbaz Ahmed, Rajat Patidar, Anuj Rawat, Akash Deep, Josh Hazlewood, Mahipal Lomror, Finn Allen, Suyash Prabhudesai, Karn Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, David Willey, Reece Topley, Himanshu Sharma, Manoj Bhandage, Rajan Kumar, Avinash Singh, Sonu Yadav, Michael Bracewell
Overview: Royal Challengers Bangalore have had their detractors in recent years, but IPL 2022 saw them reach the play-offs for the third consecutive season. They were more solid than spectacular, with captain Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli often struggling for rhythm and leaving Glenn Maxwell to do the catching up later in the innings. Kohli’s strike-rate was down at 115.98 in that campaign, though his more recent form across formats suggests better could be in the offing in the coming weeks. Josh Hazlewood proved to be a brilliant signing last year, but he comes into IPL 2023 under an injury cloud and while the bowling is already strong – led by wrist spinner Wanindu Hasaranga – losing the Australian’s skill with the new ball and at the death would hurt. Another top-four finish might be RCB’s best hope.
Star man: Glenn Maxwell
Enigmatic, frustrating but undeniably brilliant when on song. Maxwell might still divide opinion, but he enjoyed a memorable first season for this franchise in 2021, blasting 513 runs at an average of 42.75 as RCB looked like genuine contenders for large periods of the campaign. Last season was less productive in the runs department, but he still struck at 169.10. Having recovered from a freak leg break last winter, Maxwell is fit again and should be hungry to get back to work. Will the real Glenn Maxwell please stand up?
Name to note: David Willey
David Willey might seem like a strange call. Indeed, he was a surprise buy at the latest auction. But the more you look at it, the more it makes sense. With injury doubts to pace spearhead Hazlewood, Willey would offer more international experience with the ball. He swings the new ball, offers valuable left arm angle at the death, and has a wealth of experience from playing in the Pakistan Super League, T20 Blast, The Hundred, and of course, with England. He bats well, too, anywhere from opening to finishing down the order. Willey has the potential to be bargain buy.
Sky Bet odds: 10/1
IPL 2022: 8th in League Table
Squad: Abhishek Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram (capt), Harry Brook, Abdul Samad, Anmolpreet Singh, Glenn Phillips, Heinrich Klaasen, Upendra Yadav, Nitish Kumar Reddy, Washington Sundar, Vivrant Sharma, Sanvir Singh, Samarth Vyas, Mayank Dagar, Adil Rashid, Mayank Markande, Akeal Hosein, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Marco Jansen, Kartik Tyagi, Umran Malik, T. Natarajan, Fazalhaq Farooqi
Overview: It’s all change at Sunrisers Hyderabad with Kane Williamson moved on, just as David Warner was a year earlier, and Aiden Markram now installed as captain. He and Harry Brook could form a destructive middle order, with Glenn Phillips another possible in there if the management can find room for another overseas batsman. Bringing in Mayank Agarwal to open the batting was another piece of smart business, but as ever, keeping Indian seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T. Natarajan fit and on the park will be crucial, not only because of their quality with the ball, but because their availability frees over overseas slots elsewhere. There is reason to be optimistic about Sunrisers this year and they could take some stopping if this newly-assembled squad can hit the ground running.
Star man: Aiden Markram
Markram comes into this season’s IPL in a good place, having recent led Sunrisers Eastern Cape to title glory in the inaugural SA20, before making a brilliant return to Test cricket with a century in his first innings back. Having recently been appointed South Africa’s T20 captain, the good news has just kept coming and he will lead Sunrisers this season. But it’s not just Markram’s leadership to look out for. Only Buttler and du Plessis scored more runs than Markram in the SA20, while he also chipped in with 11 wickets Markram was one of the few shining lights for Sunrisers in a poor IPL 2022, but he will still be hoping to better the 381 runs he made at close to 50.
Name to note: Abdul Samad
Don’t give up on Abdul Samad who has been criminally underused by Sunrisers in the last couple of years. Finding a place in what looks a strong middle order won’t be easy, but Samad remains a young, aggressive batsman of genuine potential.
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