IPL 2024: Top five teams and their analysis

IPL 2024: Top five teams and their analysis

The 17th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) gets underway at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday, when the Chennai Super Kings take on Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

New Delhi: The 17th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) gets underway at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday, when the Chennai Super Kings take on Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

The tournament, which has plenty at stake for all players – Indian and overseas -- considering the Men’s T20 World Cup is starting from June 1 after its end in May, is full of various storylines which have captured the imagination of fans from all over the world.

IANS looks at the top five teams who took first five spots in points table of IPL 2023 and how they shape up ahead of IPL 2024

Chennai Super Kings

The team from Chennai had a glorious time in IPL 2023, winning their fifth title in a nail-biting final against Gujarat Titans that lasted literally three days due to rain in Ahmedabad. It is absolutely a no-brainer that they will be aiming for grabbing their sixth title, as MS Dhoni comes back in action, probably for one final time.

CSK have strengthened their all-round base by roping in Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, and Shardul Thakur as well as a spin-hitter in Sameer Rizvi and left-arm fast-bowler Mustafizur Rahman. But even before their tournament begins, they have been rocked by injuries to key personnel.

Devon Conway is all but out due to thumb injury, while Shivam Dube is nursing a side strain injury. Ruturaj Gaikwad has just returned after a ring finger injury, while Ajinkya Rahane hasn’t been in best form with the bat in the domestic season.

But CSK still have their multi-dimensional players and variety in spin attack along with Dhoni’s rock-solid leadership to overcome form and injury concerns to thrive in the spin-friendly conditions of Chepauk

Gujarat Titans

The IPL 2022 winners and IPL 2023 runners-up have undergone a tectonic shift in their leadership. Hardik Pandya, the leader behind their stellar runs in the last two seasons, has moved to Mumbai Indians. Gujarat have now handed the leadership reins to Shubman Gill, the leading run-getter of the last season (890 runs in 17 matches).

They also suffered another blow when ace pacer Mohammed Shami was ruled out of the season because of surgery on his injured ankle. Shami was the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2023 with 28 scalps, and was instrumental in giving Gujarat the breakthroughs in the powerplay (17 wickets).

With uncertainty on one side, there are opportunities for new players in the set-up. Afghanistan’s seam-bowling all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai and Australia's left-arm fast bowler Spencer Johnson, along with Indian players like Umesh Yadav, M Shahrukh Khan are exciting additions who can help Gujarat navigate through the uncertainties.

Rashid Khan is back to competitive cricket after back surgery, while Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, R Sai Kishore, B Sai Sudharsan and David Miller have put in consistent performances in their careers after IPL 2023, which holds the key for Gujarat if they are to make it a hat-trick of entering IPL playoffs.

Lucknow Super Giants

One of the newer IPL teams alongside GT, LSG have had successive playoffs appearances, though they have never progressed beyond the Eliminators. Ahead of IPL 2024, LSG have a question to answer in terms of KL Rahul’s availability and the role he will play.

Rahul’s right quadriceps injury meant he missed the entire India-England series after the Hyderabad Test. Moreover, there’s speculation over Rahul either opening the batting or playing in the middle order, with an eye on the Men's T20 World Cup squad in June as a wicketkeeper-batter.

LSG have enough top-order batters in Quinton de Kock, Kyle Mayers and Devdutt Padikkal, who was traded from RR. Though LSG have good batters in Nicholas Pooran and Ayush Badoni, Rahul may be tempted to play in middle-order due to Krunal Pandya, Marcus Stoinis, and Deepak Hooda not having a great run in the last few months.

LSG have boosted their fast-bowling stocks by adding Shivam Mavi, David Willey, Arshad Khan, Shamar Joseph and young all-rounder Arshin Kulkarni. But they do lack an experienced fast-bowler, for which new head coach Justin Langer, along with Lance Klusener and Adam Voges, along with Rahul & Co, need to surge through to make a hat-trick of entering playoffs.

Mumbai Indians

Long before starting its IPL 2024 campaign, MI had been in the news due to trading in Hardik Pandya and making him the captain in place of Rohit Sharma, which brought varied reactions from all quarters. The side has also boosted its overseas fast-bowling resources in Gerald Coetzee, and Dilshan Madushanka, who had been in injuries of late.

By adding in Mohammad Nabi, Romario Shepherd and Shreyas Gopal, MI still look as one of the most well-balanced teams in IPL 2024, which complements the likes of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Tilak Varma, Kumar Kartikeya Singh, Nehal Wadhera and Piyush Chawla.

Though they will be missing Suryakumar Yadav (return date yet to be known) and Jason Behrendorff, expect MI to set their house in order with Hardik as the leader and all-rounder to aim for winning their sixth IPL title.

Rajasthan Royals

The IPL 2008 champions became runners-up in the 2022 season, but failed to make it to the playoffs in 2023. In the auction, they roped in Avesh Khan via trade, along with getting in Rovman Powell, Nandre Burger, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Shubham Dubey and Abid Mushtaq.

For starters, Rajasthan have a super solid batting line-up in Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, and Dhruv Jurel, along with spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal.

But fast-bowler Prasidh Krishna has been ruled out for the second successive season, which means Avesh, Kuldeep Sen and Navdeep Saini have to step up in the Indian fast-bowling department. Though they do lack a big and reliant all-rounder, they can be sure of the personnel helping them get their second IPL title.

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