Author : Wisden 13 Apr, 2017

Sunrisers Hyderabad
David Warner’s 848 runs and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 23 wickets finally gave Sunrisers Hyderabad the title in 2016 after they had impressed in almost every edition since replacing Deccan Chargers in 2012. Bhuvneshwar was one part of the pace quartet that also included Mustafizur Rahman, Ashish Nehra and Barinder Sran. They, along with Moises Henriques, ensured that Hyderabad’s bowling remained top class through the season. Also contribution from allrounders like Yuvraj Singh and Ben Cutting, who scored a match-changing 39 not out (in 15 balls) in the final against Royal Challengers Bangalore, made Hyderabad hot property. They strengthened their bench by spending Rs 8.65 crore in the 2017 IPL auction. By buying Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, they have ensured that the whole of Afghanistan supports them through the season.

Best performance: Champions in 2016
Highest run-getter: David Warner – 1938 runs in 45 matches
Highest wicket-taker: Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 61 wickets in 45 matches
2017 auction spend: Rs 8.65 crore

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Even if they fell eight runs short of lifting the trophy for the first time in front of the home supporters last year, Virat Kohli was the toast of the tournament with his pathbreaking 973 runs at an average of 81.08 and a strike rate of 152.03. He made four centuries and seven fifties as Bangalore, after a slow start, made a spectacular comeback. Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers form a batting triumvirate that fans dream about, but equally crucial to their campaign last year was the role of KL Rahul, who donned the big gloves and made important runs, and Yuzvendra Chahal and Shane Watson. The two picked up 41 wickets to make up for the absence of Mitchell Starc. With Starc withdrawing from the 2017 IPL, Bangalore bought Tymal Mills for Rs 12 crore.

Best performance: Runners-up in 2009, 2011, 2016
Highest run-getter: Virat Kohli – 4534 runs in 154 matches
Highest wicket-taker: R Vinay Kumar – 80 wickets in 70 matches
2017 auction spend: Rs 15.4 crore

Gujarat Lions
By topping the league table in their debut season, Gujarat Lions sent out a strong message even if they missed two chances in the playoffs to make it to the final. Their campaign had many heroes. Aaron Finch set the tone with four fifties in the first half of the tournament before Dwayne Smith made big runs towards the end. Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik produced consistent performances to hold the batting together. Dhawal Kulkarni and Dwayne Bravo led the bowling. Kulkarni was particularly brilliant in the first qualifier where he ripped apart Bangalore’s batting before de Villiers produced a magic knock. Bravo, a death-over specialist, mixed up his slower balls to keep the batsmen guessing, and Praveen Kumar gave him good support. They added Jason Roy for Rs 1 crore to their roster in the 2017 auction.

Best performance: Playoffs in 2016
Highest run-getter: Suresh Raina – 399 runs in 15 matches
Highest wicket-taker: Dhawal Kulkarni – 18 wickets in 14 matches
2017 auction spend: Rs 3.85 crore

Kolkata Knight Riders
One of the three franchises to have won the IPL twice, Kolkata Knight Riders were not at their best last season but managed to stitch up enough wins to make it to the playoffs where they lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first eliminator. That they went into the second stage was because of Gautam Gambhir’s 501 runs, some crucial knocks from Yusuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa, and Andre Russell’s 15 wickets. In the first eliminator, they did well to restrict Hyderabad to 162 for 8, but then lost Colin Munro, Gambhir and Pathan in a space of 16 runs to collapse in the chase. Sunil Narine’s poor form after a reworked action proved costly for them. With 23 members, they have the smallest squad in 2017, but they made a prudent investment in buying Trent Boult for Rs 5 crore.

Best performance: Champions in 2012 and 2014
Highest run-getter: Gautam Gambhir – 2847 runs in 106 matches
Highest wicket-taker: Sunil Narine – 103 wickets in 75 matches
2017 auction spend: Rs 14.35 crore

Mumbai Indians
The most high-profile franchise in the circuit, Mumbai Indians have a played an attractive brand of cricket under Rohit Sharma’s leadership to win the title twice, but they were not at their best in 2016. Except for a stretch of three consecutive wins in the middle of the season, they could not find the right combination. They needed to win their last three matches to be in contention, but finished with just two points. Rohit was the only shining light in the batting department, and Kieron Pollard averaged 25.87. Lendl Simmons, one of their heroes when they won in 2015, got injured after just one game, and Lasith Malinga was out completely. Except for Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah no other bowler took ten or more wickets, meaning that a lot of easy runs were leaked away in the death overs. They weren’t very active in the 2017 auction, but have replaced Ricky Ponting as coach with Mahela Jayawardene.

Best performance: Champions in 2013 and 2015
Highest run-getter: Rohit Sharma – 2977 runs in 106 matches
Highest wicket-taker: Lasith Malinga – 168 wickets in 115 matches
2017 auction spend: Rs 8.2 crore

Delhi Daredevils
The leadership group of Zaheer Khan, Paddy Upton and Rahul Dravid made Delhi Daredevils the neutral’s favourite in 2016. They started strongly – thanks to a healthy mix of good Indian and overseas talent who are not yet superstars, but constant chopping and changing meant that they lost their way during the business end of the tournament. Sam Billings, Carlos Brathwaite, fresh after his four sixes in the 2016 World Twenty20 final, Quinton de Kock, who hit a match-winning century against Bangalore in an away game, and Chris Morris were their key overseas players, but Karun Nair played one of the best innings to keep their qualification aspirations alive. They needed to beat Bangalore in Raipur in their last game, but they were unable to stop Kohli after being checked to 138 for 8. They bought Kagiso Rabada for Rs 5 crore in the 2017 auction.

Best performance: Semifinalists in 2008 and 2009
Highest run-getter: Virender Sehwag – 2382 runs in 86 matches
Highest wicket-taker: Amit Mishra – 68 wickets in 61 matches
2017 auction spend: Rs 14.1 crore

Rising Pune Supergiant
Rising Pune Supergiant, who made their debut in 2016, made the biggest noise in the 2017 auction by buying Ben Stokes for Rs 14.5 crore. This came soon after Steven Smith replaced MS Dhoni as captain. Having won just five matches in their maiden season, the owners have taken fresh steps to make a statement. They started their IPL campaign with a win over Mumbai Indians, but soon lost key players like Smith, who made a century, Faf du Plessis, Mitchell Marsh and Kevin Pietersen among others to injuries. The lack of depth exposed them against tougher opponents and R Ashwin’s below average season did not help the cause. Dhoni produced their best memory when he hit 22 runs off the last five balls of the match bowled by Axar Patel for a four-wicket win and avoid the wooden spoon. Adam Zampa, who was introduced quite late in the season, was their find.

Best performance: Finished seventh in 2016
Highest run-getter: Ajinkya Rahane – 480 runs in 14 matches
Highest wicket-taker: Adam Zampa – 12 wickets in 5 matches
2017 auction spend: Rs 17.2 crore

Kings XI Punjab
After Glenn Maxwell almost singlehandedly took them to the final in 2014, Kings XI Punjab have failed to replicate the high. Last season they finished at the bottom of the table with just four wins. Except for Axar’s hat-trick against Gujarat and a thrilling win against Delhi scripted by high-quality death bowling by Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma, there was nothing much to talk about, though there was a classy performance by Hashim Amla and a gutsy knock from Marcus Stoinis. David Miller started as captain before M Vijay replaced him, and then the management appointed Glenn Maxwell as new skipper before the start of the 2017 season. The poor season resulted in Sanjay Bangar resigning as coach and Virender Sehwag taking as the director. They also signed up Mithun Manhas and J Arunkumar as assistant coaches. In the 2017 auction, they bought Eoin Morgan, Darren Sammy, Martin Guptill and Varun Aaron to strengthen the squad.

Best performance: Runners-up in 2015
Highest run-getter: Shaun Marsh – 2213 runs in 62 matches
Highest wicket-taker: Piyush Chawla – 84 wickets in 87 matches
2017 auction spend: Rs 9.45 crore

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