Sun Risers Hyderabad
On paper, this looks the most complete side and the good home work done was evident from the value for money buys. They have 11 players from their last year’s squad and the core of the side remains pretty much the same. David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan are once again the chief protagonists backed up with a much better supporting cast this time around. Having been a top-heavy side in the previous seasons, they have beefed up their lower middle order with the likes of Mohammad Nabi, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan and Carlos Brathwaite.
They have as many as six Indian pacers in their side. The only probable box they didn’t tick was that of an express overseas pacer, someone like a Pat Cummins or Trent Boult. Probably that was because they joined the bidding war for Sandeep Sharma perhaps just to up the price but ended up buying him as others in the bidding backed out after SRH’s initial bid for three crores. They are one of the few sides from the auction with back up options for most of it’s key players.
Bargain buy: Shakib Al Hasan for 2 cr
One they should have avoided: Sandeep Sharma for 3 cr
Probable first XI: Warner, Dhawan, Pandey, Shakib, Saha, Hooda, Brathwaite/Nabi, Rashid, Bhuvneshwar, Kaul, Sandeep Sharma
They came to this auction with the skeleton of the team already laid out by retaining Rishabh Pant, Chris Morris and Shreyas Iyer, very unlike the previous auctions when used to start off with clean slates. It was an open secret they had their eyes set on Gautam Gambhir for leading the side and buying him at 2.80 crores saved them to shell an extra penny or two for other players. Glenn Maxwell was their only buy in excess of five crores and the average price per player for them was 2.06 crores, which was the second fewest among the franchises. Like SRH, DD is another team with all bases covered and a backup for almost every key player. They will probably start with Colin Munro, Chris Morris and Trent Boult with Jason Roy, Daniel Christian and Kagiso Rabada as respective backups along with Glenn Maxwell as their first-choice overseas player.
Their spin department in enriched with the experience of Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadeem with Jayant Yadav and Rahul Tewatia in the backup cast and add to it the mystery of Sandeep Lamichanne. Though they have plenty of big hitters around, barring Gambhir there isn't a batsman who can act as a circuit breaker in a collapse.
Bargain buy: Many - Munro 1.9 cr, Roy 1.5 cr, Boult 2.2 cr and Christian 1.5 cr
One they should have avoided: Rahul Tewatia because of the of the high price tag of 3 cr for a player yet unptoven in the big stage
Probable first XI: Gambhir, Munro, Pant, Iyer, Maxwell, Morris, Vijay Shankar, Nadeem, Mishra, Boult, Shami
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Perhaps for the first time in an IPL auction, it wasn’t RCB making noise for the biggest bids as in the past where we have seen them making laxurious bids for Saurabh Tiwary (7.36 cr 2011), Yuvraj Singh (14 cr in 2014) and Dinesh Karthik (12.5 cr in 2015). Having a revamped Chinnaswamy, they have packed their squad with spinners giving a good indication of how the track might behave. Any three from the likes of Yuzuvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi and Murugan Ashwin can be in the playing XI every game. The only bad move they made in the auction was when they bid placed a bid for Ishan at six crores (before losing to MI at 6.2 cr) having just 20 crores left in the purse then and had only Umesh Yadav and Khejroliya as pacers.
The top four comprising of Baz, QdK, Kohli and ABD is as good, if not better, than any international side. With both Mandeep Singh and Manan Vohra being more effective at the top, they would be looking at Moeen Ali or Chris Woakes (or CdG) as their potential finisher.
Bargain buy: Quinton de Kock for 3.6 cr & Chahal for 6 cr especially with wrist spinners being the flavour of the season
One they should have avoided: Mohammad Siraj for 2.6 cr as he is still unproven as a bowler in T20 cricket. A Basil Thampi or Sidharth Kaul would have served that purpose better.
Probable first XI: QdK, Parthiv, Kohli, ABD, Sarfraz, Woakes, Negi, Sundar, NCN, Umesh, Chahal
Kings XI Punjab
Having been a conservative side in the previous auctions, KXIP went on a purchasing spree right from the start. They lost four of their first five buys to RTM usage by other franchises. They have a very good Indian contingent in the batting with KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Yuvraj Singh and Manoj Tiwary. They have Aaron Finch’s consistency at the top with David Miller and Marcus Stoinis donning the finisher's role.
They have their spin attack sorted with R Ashwin and Axar Patel to go with the mystery of Mujeeb Zadran. The biggest weakness for them is in their fast bowling department as to who will complement Andre Tye. Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran and Ankit Rajpoot aren't the ones who will send shock down the opposition’s spine. The average price per player for them was around 3.36 crores with only three of their players valued under a crore. Another big worry for them would be the fact that they don’t have a specialist wicketkeeper in their squad and will look at Lokesh Rahul to double up as opener and wicketkeeper.
Bargain buy: David Miller at 3 cr
One they should have avoided: Chris Gayle at 2 cr especially with Hashim Amla (their leading run-getter in 2017) was up for grabs
Probable first XI: Finch, Rahul, Nair, Yuvraj, Miller, Stoinis, Axar, Ashwin, Tye, Mohit, Sran
Just like KXIP, RR are one side which was not used to shell out big bucks in auctions but rather a side which would more often than not punch above their weight. This time around, they bid adieu to their ‘Moneyball’ approach and made two of the costliest buys – Ben Stokes for 12.5 cr and Jaidev Unadkat for 11.5 cr. After the auction, they possesses arguably the best batting lineup among the eight teams with the likes of Rahane, Smith, Stokes, Buttler, Samson, Rahul Tripati and Darcy Short.
Bowling definitely looks the weaker of the two suites with Unadkat and Joffra Archer required to carry out bulk of the load. The spin department looks wafer thin with the unproven Zahir Khan, Shreyas Gopal and Ankit Sharma. Their bid for Krishnappa Gowtham for a whopping 6.2 crore deprived them of the required bucks to buy more bowlers.
Bargain buy: Ajinkya Rahane at 4 cr
One they should have avoided: K Gowtham at 6.2 cr
Probable first XI: Rahane, Tripathi, S Smith, Samson, Stokes, Buttler, Archer, Gowtham, Gopal/ Ankit Sharma, Unadkat, D Kulkarni
Kolkata Knight Riders
Just like RR and KXIP, KKR are a side known for making smart buys by virtue of their extensive data analysis. This auction saw them exhausting their entire purse of 80 crore and finishing with the fewest number of players in the squad (19). They had retained Sunil Narine and Andre Russell and brought the Australian duo of Chris Lynn and Mitchell Starc - both injury prone - for a combined 19 crore. The back up overseas players for them include Mitchell Johnson and the uncapped couple of Cameron Delport and Javon Searles. It remains to be seen how the back up cast replace Lyn and Starc (who will be coming for IPL 2018 after a gruelling four Tests in South Africa) if needed.
The three U-19 purchases for them cost eight crores (Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi and Shubhman Gill) while the two RTMs for wrist spinners Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav cost them a combined bid of ten crores. With the track at Eden Gardens not taking turn as it used to be a few years ago, it remains unlikely they will field both the spinners in the same XI especially with Narine also around. They started the second day with the least purse (7.6 cr) and gout outbid my other franchises when they tried to buy capped pace bowlers. With Vinay Kumar as the lone capped Indian seamer, it remains to be seen who will complement Starc in pace bowling department. But the biggest question pondering over the KKR camp a the moment would be who will be leading them in the season?
Bargain buy: Probably none
One they should have avoided: Using RTM for Piyush Chawla at 4.2 cr
Probable first XI: Narine, Lynn, Uthappa, D Karthik, Rana, Russell, Jaggi/Gill, Nagarkoti/Mavi , Starc, Kuldeep, Vinay Kumar
The one stark difference between the Mumbai side of 2017 and 2018 is in the depth of the squad. While in 2017, they had a back up for each of their major players and in contrast this time they have a very competitive first XI with little back up. MI always had issue to find the right match at the top of the order and this year is no different. They have had 17 opening combinations since Sachin Tendulkar hung his boots in 2013 and it remains to be seen whether Rohit Sharma would go back to open the innings leaving a big gaping hole in the middle order.
The other two areas where they are slim are spin bowling and Indian pacers after Jasprit Bumrah, who is their only capped Indian bowler in the entire squad. They had Harbhajan, Karn Sharma and Praghyan Ojha in their spin department last season while the responsibility rests on the young shoulders of Rahul Chahar and Akila Dananjaya this time around. They have the best overseas pace battery with the likes of Pat Cummins, Mustafizur Rahaman and Jason Behrendroff essentially replacing the old guard of Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell McClenaghan.
Bargain buy: Evin Lewis at 3.8 cr
One they should have avoided: Ishaan Kishan at 6.2 cr
Probable first XI: Lewis, Kishan, Rohit, Pollard, Hardik, Krunal, SK Yadav, Cummins, Bumrah, R Chahar, Behrendroff/Mustafizur
Chennai Super Kings
A glance into the players CSK had assembled at the end of the first day, any fan would have had little doubt as to who will lift the title. But unfortunately, this was 2018 and not 2011. CSK probably had the worst auction and inadvertently ended up with the most money left at the end. On the first day, they went after proven T20 players despite all of them were aged well above 30. They undoubtedly posses the best spin attack (Harbhajan, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir and Mitchell Santner), and have most bases covered. However, they lack an explosive batsman like Brendon McCullum in their line up and as a result they are likely to struggle in steep run-chases.
The acquisition of Lungi Ngidi and Mark Wood in the end helped them to beef up their pace bowling, though both are yet unproven in Asian conditions. They were well placed to buy either or both of Unadkat and Tye but lost both the bids. Having used their RTM for Faf Du Plessis at the beginning, they weren’t left with one to buy back Tye. As a result, they were left with 6.5 crores in the purse after having filled their entire quota of 25 players.
Bargain buy: Imran Tahir at 1 cr
One they should have avoided: Shane Watson at 4 cr
Probable first XI: Watson, Du Plessis, Raina, Dhoni, Rayudu, Jadhav, Jadeja, Bravo, Harbhajan, Tahir, Shardul
You can find the full sqauds here (@Cricbuzz)