With IPL back tomorrow let’s take a closer look into the teams and who could surprise us and have a solid second phase in the IPL.
CSK: Imran Tahir
The 42-year-old might surprise some of the cricket fans, showing the fans that he’s still got. The South African veteran, last played for his country in 2019, but is regularly playing domestic leagues, and recently featured in The 100. Tahir only played once in the first phase of the IPL, but going into phase 2 it is very likely for Dhoni to go for three spinners, and Imran Tahir will play a more crucial role in this phase of the IPL. The UAE pitches are expected to be slow and damp, which will help the veteran, and he’s experienced enough to make use of this.
Imran Tahir was in great form during The Hundred format, picking up the first-ever hattrick in that format, and will look to continue his form into the IPL and surprise the fans with his ability at 42.
DC: Axar Patel
Ax had a great start to the year when he made his test debut vs England and bamboozled their whole team. Axar has been in and around the squad that traveled to England, and his hard work has earned him a call-up to the World Cup squad.
Some were a bit surprised with this inclusion, but he acts as a direct replacement for Jadeja. The left-arm spinner had a good start in the IPL first phase, picking up 6 wickets in four matches, at a good economy of 7.00.
He didn’t get many opportunities with the bat, but that’s due to Delhi’s strong top order. Going into Phase 2, he’s going to be their main spin-bowling asset and will also look to acclimatize himself to the UAE pitches
KKR: Rahul Tripathi
KKR, around the bottom of the table, will need inspirational performances in the second phase of the IPL to have a chance to make it to the playoffs. Their batting in the season has been off-color, all the big guns haven’t been firing.
Rahul Tripathi was the only batsman looking in fine touch in the first phase. He was the more dominant opener amongst him and Shubhman Gill, which was surprising too many.
In the only 2 games won by KKR, Tripathi scored scores of 40+ at a strike rate of around 115. He managed to get 186 runs in the first 7 games of the IPL.
The opener, who was getting in good nick, will relish the opportunity of the IPL being back, and if KKR wants a chance to make it to the playoffs, Rahul Tripathi must go out all guns blazing.
PK: Moises Henriques
The Australian all-rounder didn’t get a lot of opportunities in the first phase of the IPL, but I believe is crucial to Punjab King’s success. The 34-year-old has now reached a stage where he knows the strength of his game and is a constant performer in the BBL.
The Australian has captained his BBL team ‘Sydney Sixers’ to three finals and won his first one in 2020. Coming into phase two it seems that Punjab is short on all-rounders, I believe if Moises is given a regular opportunity, he’ll add stability to Punjab’s batting coming in at 5, his Leg cutters, and variations will also be useful in the UAE venues.
RR: Riyan Parag
Over the past two years, Rajasthan Royals have done well in grooming young Indian talent. One of their biggest prodigies in the past two years has been, Assam-born, Riyan Parag.
The 19-year-old was really growing into his own this season. He is renowned to be a finisher and has done so many times for India- U19. Parag is also a handy bowler, and earlier in the year tried to replicate the infamous style of Kedhar Jadhav.
It is visible that Riyan Parag has the technique and bottom-hand strength to hit long sixes. He’s a great outfielder as well and could surprise many fans going into the second phase of the IPL.
RCB: Wanindu Hasaranga
Wanindu Hasaranga was bought into RCB as a replacement but is going to be one of the key pieces of the Challengers puzzle. An all-rounder who bowls really good leg spin, and is flexible in the batting order.
The Sri-Lankan has picked up 36 wickets in his 24 T20I matches, with a good economy of 6.58. Hasaranga is known for piling up the pressure and stopping the flow of runs. It’ll be great to see the spin Duo of Chahal and Hasaranga.
If those two find a rhythm and work in tandem with each other RCB’s chances of winning this year’s IPL look to be surprisingly high.
SRH: Manish Pandey
Pandey is a key batsman in the SRH lineup, and is going to be surprising as in the first phase of the season, he started taking a lot of responsibility with the bat.
With the overseas batsmen Quota not performing that well, Pandey is a strong character and will look to take the Onus on himself.
In the first phase, Pandey showed his quality with 193 runs in just 5 innings, with an average of 48. This season, Manish also upped his strike rate and scored at 123.71.
I think it has gone under the radar that he didn’t make the world cup squad. His role is going to be anchoring the side, and hopefully putting in good performances and give them an outside chance of reaching the playoffs.
MI: Marco Jensen
Mumbai has always been consistent with its team selections. All of the Mumbai team is well accustomed to the IPL and has good coordination amongst each other. The surprising factor is their new bowling all-rounder, Marco Jensen.
The South-African youngster featured in a few games in the first phase and looked promising. His height gives him a good advantage while bowling, he is also handy with the bat and can score quick runs. He’s one of the newer but good additions to the MI squad and can take several players and fans by surprise.