Saying that the Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the grandest sports battles would not be an understatement. Ever since its inception in 2008, the tournament has garnered a humongous fan base across the world and India. It sees 8 teams, each based in one Indian city or region, going all out to win the prestigious cup. Apart from the cricket itself, the league has also been known for its elaborate opening ceremonies, appearances by celebrities and engaging team campaigns. The IPL Player Auction, held on January 27-28, 2018, has set the ball rolling for the 2018 edition to be held from April 7th to May 27th. Here is a look at the eight teams and their home grounds, and the nearby hotels you can stay at.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK)
The Chennai Super Kings return to the fold after a 2-year ban. Having already won the tournament twice, in 2010 and 2011, they will be aiming to increase that count to 3. By successfully bidding for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, François ‘Faf’ du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Murali Vijay, they have gotten their core back, sans Ravi Ashwin. Leading their pace attack will be the fiery Mark Wood and Lungi Ngidi, while the spin department will be handled by Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir; Shane Watson and Ravindra Jadeja will be the two all-rounders. Sam Billings has been added to make the team’s top order dynamic energetic.
Home Ground: MA Chidambaram Stadium
Nearest Hotel: FabHotel Udipi Home
Delhi Daredevils (DD)
The Double Ds, as Danny Morrison calls them, are arguably the unluckiest team in the tournament; they always have really talented players, but somehow end up towards the bottom of the league points table. They will most likely be captained by veteran Gautam Gambhir, with the hard-hitting Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Glenn Maxwell, and Under-19 sensation, Prithvi Shaw strengthening their batting. Featuring Kagiso Rabada, the destroyer of the Aussie batting line-up, the current nightmare of the English, Trent Boult, and swing master, Mohammed Shami, their bowling line-up is extremely intimidating. Add to the mix, charismatic all-rounder Chris Morris, T20 specialist Daniel Christian and Australian batting legend Rick Ponting in the coaching role, you get a team which is poised for victory.
Home Ground: Feroz Shah Kotla Ground
Kings XI Punjab (Kings XI)
Now this is a team, who can win the tournament with their batting might alone. Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, David Miller and Yuvraj Singh…all individually instil fear in the hearts of bowlers with their aggressive approach to batting; KL Rahul will provide the much-needed stability. Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel make up their spin department, whereas Marcus Stoinis, Mohit Sharma and Andrew Tye are among the pacers in the squad. Limited Over cricket expert, Brad Hodge is in the coaching role. Their co-owner, Preity Zinta is quite an animated character off the field, and she will be hoping that her team makes her even jollier.
Home Ground: IS Bindra (PCA) Stadium, Mohali (Chandigarh) and Holker Cricket Stadium, Indore
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Co-owned by Bollywood icons, Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, KKR is definitely the most star-studded team in the tournament. Chris Lynn, whose heroics with the bat and in the field are well documented and who seems to get back up every time after a nasty injury, will be their batting mainstay. He will be complemented by Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik and U-19 star Shubman Gill. KKR have an actual ‘pace battery’, featuring the Aussie spearhead, Mitchell Johnson and Indian U-19 partners Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi. The recent stress fracture to Mitchell Starc, who will now miss the IPL, means that KKR will be on the lookout for a like-for-like bowler to replace him. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and mystery tweaker Sunil Narine, whose exceptional batting last season was nothing short of a revelation, complete the squad.
Home Ground: Eden Gardens
Nearest Hotel: FabHotel Ratnakar Residency
Mumbai Indians (MI)
Nita Ambani has certainly used all her brains in forming the team, considering Mumbai Indians are the most successful IPL franchise with three wins: 2013, 2015 and 2017. They have retained most of their important players, including Captain Rohit Sharma, big-hitter Kieron Pollard, wicket-taker Jasprit Bumrah, valuable Hardik Pandya and consistent Mitchell McClenaghan. New additions to the squad are the six-hitter Saurabh Tiwary, blazing Pat Cummins, who has been in sublime form since his return to international cricket, T20 veteran Ben Cutting, swing king Mustafizur Rahman and experienced all-rounder Jean-Paul Duminy. That’s not all…even their coaching staff has some of the most accomplished cricketers, including Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, Mr. Consistent Mahela Jayawardene, speedster Shane Bond and the master of the Yorker, Lasith Malinga!
Home Ground: Wankhede Stadium
Nearest Hotel: FabHotel Crawford Inn
Rajasthan Royals (RR)
IPL 2008 winners, Rajasthan Royals will also be making a comeback after 2 years along with CSK. The RR management has always managed to create the most balanced team, while saving a significant amount from their purse. This time though, rebuilding their team from scratch, they went all guns blazing during the auction, getting Ben Stokes for a whopping INR 12.5 crores, and with good reason as he was the MVP last season. The batting line-up consists of class player Ajinkya Rahane, sloggers Sanju Samson and Jos Butler, and Big Bash League star D’Arcy Short. RR have all bases covered as far as their bowling goes, which will feature the change-ups of Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat, along with the raw pace of Dushmantha Chameera. RR have signed Heinrich Klaassen t o replace former captain, Steven Smith.
Home Ground: Sawai Mansingh Stadium
Nearest Hotel: FabHotel Epic
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
With AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Quinton de Kock and Brendan McCullum, RCB have the meanest batting line-up in the IPL. They will enter the battlefield with a new-look bowling department, featuring the impeccable Tim Southee and quickie Umesh Yadav, whereas Yuzvendra Chahal will handle spin bowling duties. With the handy Moeen Ali, blazing Corey Anderson, who broke Shahid Afridi’s record for the fastest ODI ton, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme, their all-rounders department seems the best of the lot so far. RCB will want to break the jinx of never winning the IPL despite having the best batsmen in their ranks, hoping the able coaching and mentoring of India’s 2011 Cricket World Cup-winning coach, Gary Kirsten, and Kiwi spin great, Daniel Vettori, can steer them through.
Home Ground: M Chinnaswamy Stadium
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)
Originally named Deccan Chargers, SRH won the 2016 edition of the IPL. Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey and the sublime Kane Williamson (SRH captain) are the main batsmen, and the way Williamson has been batting lately, he could really help SRH cliché the trophy again. Their bowling line-up has everything: the swing, line and length of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, screaming pace and bounce of Billy Stanlake, and untraceable googlies of Rashid Khan, who has cruised to 100 ODI wickets in merely 44 games! Not to forget Shakib Al Hasan, who has been No.1 in the ICC Test and ODI all-rounder rankings, and No.3 in ICC T20 all-rounders ranking. SRH have brought in hard-hitting English opener, Alex Hales, in place of David Warner.
Home Ground: Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium
The first task for all the teams will be making it to the play-offs, the Eliminator and Qualifier II of which will be played at the MCA Stadium in Pune. If you are looking to come to Pune for these high-octane contests, then you can stay at FabHotel Gharonda Residency or FabHotel Arya.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your plane, train or bus tickets as well as your hotel before they are sold out because the IPL this time is going to be the best yet!