IPL 3: With the third edition of the IPL set to take off tomorrow, watch out for some explosive action.
With a lot of expectations, the third edition of the Indian Premier League is all set to take centre stage. The arrangements for the inaugural ceremony are in full swing and with the event taking place in India; IPL fans can afford a wide smile. The main news is that four new venues — Nagpur, Vishakapatnam, Ahmedabad, and Dharmasala - have been added apart from the eight home venues. Now let's take a peek into the teams and its champion players.
The Mumbai Indians
Led by the great man Sachin Tendulkar, are expected to bounce back this time after two successive tough editions. The Caribbean flavours of Pollard and Bravo add spice to the side. They are two good players who can prove their mettle in the shortest version of the game. Abhishek Nayar should show some temperament this time and the surprise entry Shikar Dhawan is expected to be handy with the bat. All eyes will be on the man in form, Sachin Tendulkar and he will have the Sri Lankan Jayasuriya to help him open Mumbai's account.
The Delhi Daredevils
The squad looks pretty impressive with an explosive line-up of the likes of Sehwag, De Villiers, Dilshan, Warner … the list just goes on. It's a comeback tournament for their new skipper Gautam Gambhir and he will certainly be trying to prove a point. Expect useful contributions from Karthik and Henriques while Maharoof can get that odd boundary to ease the pressure. Nannes, Nehra and Sangwan will be the bowlers to watch and Mishra can mix it up well in the death overs. So Delhi looks a strong side with a lot of big hitters waiting to provide you the entertainment.
Chennai Super Kings
The team has a good blend of raw talents and experienced players. Everything is falling in place for this strong side, with the latest being the availability of Matt Hayden. Australia's batting tour de force Hayden along with skipper Dhoni will be looking to strike gold. Experienced players like Hussy, Raina and Badri support them in the middle overs and crackers are always expected from South African Albie Morkel and Gony. The fast bowling department is led by Balaji and Gony while much will be expected from wily spin wizard Muralidharan and his lefty partner Jakati, who worked wonders in IPL2.
The finalists of IPL2, Royal Challengers from Bengaluru showed team spirit and outstanding talent. Dravid's dream run fetched them a second spot last time. With Kallis and the long-time-no-see Ross Taylor to bank upon, the Royal Challengers will fight it out in the middle. Youngsters like Uthappa and Manish Pandey can use this opportunity to get into the already strong International side. New man Peter Siddle will hopefully have a look in. And with old fox Kumble's valuable experience, they will try to land in a good spot.
With the multiple-captain approach drawing flak , the Knight Riders now come under the prince of Kolkata, Sourav Ganguly. Jamaican southpaw, Chris Gayle is expected to fire on all cylinders, with his explosive and disdainful batting style. Agarkar and Ishant Sharma look dangerous in their initial spells and Ganguly will double up as a part-time bowler to get a crucial breakthrough. However, KKR fans will be watching Shane Bond wearing the black jersey. Harpreet Singh. Shukla can chip in with some useful contributions with the bat while the hard hitting Mccullum will certainly go for the swing. The KKR will look for some good luck charm this time!
Kings XI Punjab
Preity Zinta's Kings XI Punjab will look to make its presence felt this time. They have new skipper Sangakkara to lead, while the flamboyant Yuvraj plays as a batsman. Hopes and the ever-patient Jayawardene can anchor their middle order. Irfan's fans get to see the handsome man back in action, but Brett Lee and Abdullah will be the men to watch in the bowling department. The young Chawla will be a useful option.
The champions of IPL2, Deccan Chargers used failure as their stepping stone to success. The Chargers scripted an incredible turnaround in the last season clinching the trophy. All credit to its wicketkeeper-skipper Adam Gilchrist. His Australian teammate Symonds will have to deliver the goods this time and the expectations from left arm spinner Ojha will be high. Dwayne Smith has been a success with both bat and the ball last season and is expected to strike again and lefty seamer RP Singh is expected to be one of the lead runners for the purple cap.
Shane Warne's Rajasthan Royals is a young side with fresh talents making up the 30-player squad. Big names include Graeme Smith, Mascarenhas and our own Yusuf Pathan, who can dominate a good bowling attack. Goa player Asnodkar still occupies the opening slot, Naman Ojha can prove a good competitor. The bowling looks bright with the raw pace of Shaun Tait and Munaf. Warne's initial spells will be crucial while Yusuf can chip in as well. The young Royals side will look up to their spin legend skipper to deliver the goods.
Tune your channels to the biggest cricketing event from March 12 as Deccan Chargers take on Mumbai Indians in Mumbai at 8.pm.
Praveen is a III Year student of Information Technology, Rajalakshmi Engineering College