Indian Premier League 10: Can Sunrisers Hyderabad retain their title?
The Indian Premier League 2017 is all set to start with the opening ceremony happening in Hyderabad. In the opening match, Royal Challengers Bangalore take on reigning champions Sunrisers Hyderabad. While RCB are chasing their first ever championship, the Sunrisers will be looking for a repeat of the 2016 season.
While you watch the glorious opening ceremony, here's a quick look at the teams taking part in the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League.
Squad: Angelo Mathews, Corey Anderson, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Ankit Bawne, Aditya Tare, Murugan Ashwin, Navdeep Saini, Shashank Singh, Mohammed Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Zaheer Khan, Sam Billings, Sanju Samson, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, CV Milind, Syed Ahmed, Pratyush Singh.
Best performance: Semi-finals in 2008 (4th), 2009 (3rd) and 2012 (3rd)
Key players: No one can rule out spinners on Indian pitches and hence Amit Mishra will be crucial for the team. Along with that, there is always Carlos Brathwaite, whom most bowlers fear. Sam Billings has impressed as a keeper and if he clicks as a batsman, Daredevils can get into the finals.
Missing players: South Africans Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy have withdrawn from this season of the IPL. Mathews will also be missing from the start of the tournament, further depleting the team's batting depth. Even Carlos Brathwaite will only join after the end of his international duty.
Delhi is unfancied by bookies this season, but they could just be the dark horses. With most players being relative unknowns to opponents, the youthful team could surprise once again.
Squad: Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Smith, Dwayne Bravo, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Manpreet Gony, Ishan Kishan, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik, Chirag Suri, Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Pratham Singh, Jason Roy, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Shelley Shaurya, Nathu Singh, Tejas Baroka, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Shubham Agarwal and Basil Thampi.
Best performance: Semi-finals in 2016 (3rd)
Key players: Captain Suresh Raina is the all-rounder that Gujarat Lions need. The combination of Raina and India's best player during their home season, Ravindra Jadeja, could make the Lions into a leading contender for the 2017 IIPL season.
Missing players: All-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja will be missing from the start of the campaign, and that could derail any sort of momentum the Lions will be looking to have.
One problem for the Lions is deciding who will open the innings. Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Jason Roy have experience opening the batting, and it will be interesting to see who opens in the first match against the Kolkata Knight Riders on 7 April.
Kings XI Punjab
Squad: Eoin Morgan, Rahul Tewatia, T Natarajan, Matt Henry, Varun Aaron, Martin Guptill, Darren Sammy, Rinku Singh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Axar Patel, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Singh, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Shaun Marsh, Wriddhiman Saha, M Vijay, Nikhil Naik, Mohit Sharma, Marcus Stoinis, KC Cariappa, Armaan Jaffer, Pardeep Sahu, Swapnil Singh, Hashim Amla.
Best performance: Semi-final in 2008 and runner-up in 2014
Key players: Captain Glenn Maxwell took over the captaincy from Murali Vijay. Starting with a fresh slate, Maxwell will be key to holding the team together. New buys in Martin Guptill and Eoin Morgan will also be crucial to the setup of the team. There is left-arm seamer T Natarajan who was purchased far above his base price. His slow balls and yorkers still haven't been figured out by opponents and that might come in handy at the death.
Missing players: Guptill seems to be out of the first few matches with a hamstring injury.
Despite finishing rock bottom the last two seasons, Kings XI Punjab isn't short of talent and will definitely be hungry for a turnaround.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Squad: Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajput
Best performance: Champions in 2012 and 2014 and semi-finals in 2011 and 2016.
Key players: Chris Lynn is one batsmen most, if not all, bowlers fear in T20. Lynnsanity took over the Big Bash League during the 2016-17 season. Playing for Brisbane Heat, Lynn matched the record of most sixes in a single innings with 11 maximums. He also scored an unbeaten 98 in that same innings, the highest in this season's BBL. His season average was a sensational 154.5. Repeat that in India and the sky is the limit for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Missing players: Andre Russell is currently serving a doping ban and hence will not play.
With the solid opening partnership of Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, KKR's foundation is solid. Follow that up with the likes of Darren Bravo, Manish Pandey and Chris Lynn and there is no reason to think that KKR won't be putting up a strong showing. Shakib Al Hasan, the star for Bangladesh, is the dark horse for KKR. If they use him wisely, he could be the deadly all-rounder that takes KKR over the line.
Squad: Nicholas Pooran, Mitchell Johnson, K Gowtham, Karn Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary, A Gunaratna, K Khejroliya, Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, J Suchith, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Tim Southee, Jithesh Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia.
Best performance: Champions in 2013 and 2015 and runners-up in 2010.
Key players: Match winner for India, Fast-bowler Jasprit Bumrah will be looking to repeat that form for Mumbai Indians on their way to a third title. There is Jos Buttler who's a proven finisher, and a new addition in Mitchell Johnson.
Missing players: Lasith Malinga and Asela Gunaratne will be missing the first few games due to national duty.With Mumbai Indians missing out on their first play off since 2009, all eyes will be on how they redeem themselves this season. They have some youngsters in the team but the more experienced players will have to carry the bulk of the weight.
With Mumbai Indians missing out on their first play off since 2009, all eyes will be on how they redeem themselves this season. They have some youngsters in the team but the more experienced players will have to carry the bulk of the weight.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Squad: Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills , Aniket Choudhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Sarfaraz Khan, S Aravind, Kedar Jadhav, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi
Best performance: Runners-up in 2009, 2011 and 2016 and semi-finals in 2010 and 2015.
Key players: King Kohli cannot be ruled out despite having a nagging injury. Kohli will probably miss the first few games but once he's back, all eyes will be on him. Other than that, RCB splurged £1m on England fast-bowling sensation Tymal Mills.
Missing players: KL Rahul has to undergo surgery. AB De Villiers is nursing a back injury. Sarfaraz Khan suffered a leg injury during a practice game.
The key here is how the bowlers of the Royal Challengers Bangalore perform. With Mills being the X-factor and the team looking to finally win a championship, one or two of the batsmen will have to step up in order for the trophy to finally reside in Bengaluru.
Squad: Tanmay Agarwal, Mohammad Nabi, Ekalavya Dwivedi, Rashid Khan, Pravin Tambe, Chris Jordan, Ben Laughlin, Mohammed Siraj, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, David Warner, Moises Henriques, Naman Ojha, Ricky Bhui, Kane Williamson, Siddarth Kaul, Bipul Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh, Ben Cutting, Abhimanyu Mithun, Mustafizur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Deepak Hooda, Vijay Shankar.
Best performance: Champions of the 2016 season
Key players: David Warner was instrumental in their victory last season and he'll be raring to go once again. Other than that, the surprise star Sunrisers may be Afghanistan leg-spinner, Rashid Khan.
The opening partnership of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan. Kane Williamson next. Big-hitter Moises Henriques. On the other hand, they have two exciting youngsters in Rashid Khan and Bangladesh quick Mustafizur Rahman. Sunrisers Hyderabad may not be the best team on paper, but they are still a favourite to at least make the semi-finals.
Rising Pune Supergiant
Squad: MS Dhoni, Steve Smith, Mayank Agarwal, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Ankit Sharma, Rajat Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, Daniel Christian, Rahul Chahar, Ashok Dinda, Faf du Plessis, Lockie Ferguson, Usman Khawaja, Jaskaran Singh, Saurabh Kumar, Ben Stokes, Milind Tondon, Manoj Tiwary, Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa, Imran Tahir.
Best performance: 7th in 2016
Key players: MS Dhoni is skipper no more but he is still one of the most clinical finishers in the game.
Steve Smith, the new captain, is the key to their success. How he rallies his troops will be crucial. South Africa's T20 skipper Faf du Plessis made a decent show in the 2016 edition but will be looking to lead from the front.