Well, I was suppose to review the remaining to IPL teams of Mumbai Indians and the renamed Punjab Kings but some unexpected event happened in my family and I couldn't post this blog for the last 10 days.
We had a review of teams Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings in First blog and had a review of Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals in Second blog and Third review had teams of Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last blog and here I go with the Fourth one with remaining 2 teams of Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings .
P.S: If you are hearing about Indian Premier League T20 Cricket for the First time, you got to look into this to know in detail what it is.
Defending Champions Mumbai Indians' known for their slow start are the team with most balanced in terms of batting and bowling lineups and they will be eager to win their Third straight title and create another record in doing so.
MI is one of the formidable teams just like many previous years with batting starting with their ever reliable skipper Rohit Sharma who will have former South Africa captain Quinton De Kock as his opening partner and middle order is equally strong in Surya Kumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and other all-rounders to follow.
Their bowling is World class too with Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Marco Jansen/Adam Milne sharing the fast bowling with spinners Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya and occasional bowling from Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya supporting them as plenty of batting and bowling options.
New Players Purchased:
MI retained most of their players releasing only Sherfane Rutherford, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan, Saurabh Tiwari and couple others and they added players like Adam Milne, James Neesham, Marco Jansen and uncpped Arjun Tendulkar who is the son of God of Indian Cricket Mr. Sachin Tendulkar.
Overall, MI team looks as solid as ever and no surprise if they lift the trophy once again if they can adjust to the neutral pitches as per this year's IPL rules.
Punjab Kings(formerly Kings XI Punjab) is a team with some of the high profile names in Cricket and they will be searching for their First title with their best performance being reaching last 4 in the inaugural edition of IPL way back in 2008.
PBKS (as they are called shortly) are captained by one of the most promising Indian batsmen KL Rahul and he is one of the most consistent player for India and his state of Karnataka and he has his state opening partner Mayank Agarwal as his opening partner in this team as well.
Middle order for PBKS has Universal Boss Chris Gayle, Nocholas Pooran, Depak Hooda followed by allrounders Jalaj Saxena and Jhye Richardson.
Their bowling has names like young Arshdeep Singh who has impressed all last year and he will have fast bowling partners in Jhye Richardson and Mohammed Shami with spin options in M Ashwin and some rolling from Depak Hooda.
New Players Purchased:
PBKS made the headlines when they left out players like Gelnn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Jimmy Neesham, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Krishnappa Gowtham.
Especially the release of Glenn Maxwell will hurt them the most as the player is making the most of his purchase by RCB with him scoring in all the 3 wins RCB has scored.
PBKS purchased new players Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Fabian Allen and some Indian talent including Jalaj Saxena.
Although their batting looks more formidable, it's their bowling which lacks the fire power to take out 10 wickets and that will hurt their aspiration of lifting the title unless they get it straight in the initial matches itself.
Review of Matches Played So Far:
IPL is already into Week 3 with First match played on Ninth April and the neutral venue rule is favoring some of the teams and that, combined with some wise player hiring at the auction has turned some of the weaker teams as per last few years into a bit stronger ones. HAVING SAID THAT, these are still early days and the table can change very drastically as we move further.
Here is the points table to check further on each team's performance:
P.S: Please click on image for better clarity.
So, there you go, the surprise(is it?) table toppers after First 3 matches are Royal Challengers Bangalore, but as I said above, it's their improved team selection along with neutral venue has favored them the most as they were able to utilize their spinners to good use as compared to the matches played at Chinnaswamy Stadium, their home ground.
RCB's players, especially Glenn Maxwell and AB De Villiers coming in the middle order, have got license to go after the bowling as their top order consisting of captain Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal giving them good starts and their bowling looks more potent with helpful venue they got in Chennai.
CSK started their campaign on a losing side, but recovered well after that to register back to back wins against PBKS and RR and now sits at Second position.
Like RCB, CSK is also enjoying playing at neutral venue of Mumbai and they are also getting good response from new hires in Moen Ali and their ever dependent Suresh Raina, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja and Faf Du Plessis are doing their usual.
CSK will like to see some good scores from Ruthuraj Gaikwad and skipper MS Dhoni to ensure all their players are in good form.
DC under new captain Rishabh Pant is on their usual song with Shikhar Dhawan in prime form and contributions from Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant and Marcus Stoinis made them cross the line 2 times and the only time they faltered, they did so badly against Rajasthan Royals by just scoring 147.
DC's batting looks good and bowlers looking to get into their rythm with South African duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, last year's top performers just joining the team after their mandatory quarantine period is over and should bolster their bowling.
MI started their campaign as usual by losing their First match against RCB on a losing side, but recovered well after that to register 2 wins on the trot against SRH and KKR and winning both matches batting first after scoring 150+ scores and defending those successfully.
Their batting looks good and their bowling looks formidable with pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and marco Jansen looking good and spinners are making inroads as well with Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya contributing well with the bowl.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
KKR will rue their losses against MI and RCB after their failure to chase 150 and 200+ scores respectively.
Pitch also made their defeat harder with pitch making it hard to score in second innings.
Their opening pair of Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill and No. 3 Rahul Tripathi scoring well, but their middle order in captain Eoin Morgan and former captain Dinesh Karthik not scoring making it hard for them and even Andre Russell continues his bad form with the bat which all making them sweat out for wins.
Bowling on the other side, looks good with Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna and Andre Russell himself doing good as a pace bowling attack and spinners Harbhajan Singh, Varun Chakravarthy and Shakib Al Hassan doing good as well.
Rajasthan Royals campaign in this year's IPL took a blow in just their First match as they lost ace all-rounder Ben Stokes services as he got a finger injury which will keep him out of IPL for this whole season.
RR's batting is still good with new captain Sanju Samson, Ben's replacement David Miller and all-rounder Chris Morris doing good although they will like to have good scores from Manan Vohra, Steve Smith and Jos Buttler.
Their last year's hero, Rahul Tewatia is yet to show his last year's form and if he can repeat that, they will look even more formidable as a batting unit.
Their bowling is good so far with Chris Morris leading the wicket tally for them and well supported by new player Chetan Sakariya, Jayadev Unadkat and others.
PBKS's batting looks very good just like their last 2 3 seasons, but it's their bowling which isn't capitalizing on the huge scores their batsmen doing.
They started with a hard fought win against RR after scoring 221 and just able to defend it as RR fell short by just 4 runs!!!!
Since then, they lost next 2 against CSK and DC with 2 different scores batting first.
While they couldn't score much against CSK by getting all out for 106, they couldn't defend a score of 195 against DC as Rishabh Pant and co had a brilliant chase.