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News Analysis

IPL auction analysis: Do the eight teams have their best XIs in place?

Most teams look settled in terms of their first XIs, but little gaps remain

Chennai Super Kings

Who they had: Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Monu Singh, MS Dhoni, M Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Suresh Raina
Who they bought: Sam Curran, Piyush Chawla, Josh Hazlewood, R Sai Kishore
Money spent: INR 84.85 crore (US$ 11.9 million approx.)
Potential First XI: Watson, du Plessis, Raina, Rayudu, Dhoni (capt & wk), Jadhav, Jadeja, Bravo/Curran, Chahar, Chawla, Hazlewood/Ngidi
Analysis: The Super Kings got what they wanted - two very smart picks for the pitches in Chennai in Curran and Hazlewood. Some might feel that Chawla was not required in this line-up but the Super Kings probably felt the need for a little extra experience and an alternative to Tahir for better balance. Overall, they do not have any major issues other than the absence of a left-arm quick.

Delhi Capitals

Who they had: Ajinkya Rahane (T), Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Keemo Paul, Prithvi Shaw, R Ashwin (T), Rishabh Pant, Sandeep Lamichhane, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer
Who they bought: Chris Woakes, Jason Roy, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Shimron Hetmyer, Tushar Deshpande, Lalit Yadav
Money spent: INR 76 crore (US$ 10.7 million approx.)
Potential First XI: Dhawan, Rahane, Iyer, Pant (wk), Hetmyer, Stoinis/Woakes, Paul, Axar/Mishra, Ashwin, Rabada, Harshal
Analysis: Eoin Morgan, Glenn Maxwell, Curran, Pat Cummins and Jaydev Unadkat - the Capitals were outbidded on each occasion. As a result, they had to settle for second or third choices. They should look to play different sides at home and on the road to make best use of their squad. That none of their batsmen can bowl and the absence of a suitable back-up for Rabada might hurt the Capitals. Carey and Hetmyer are good long-term buys that could help them at the big auction next season.

Kings XI Punjab

Who they had: Arshdeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Darshan Nalkande, K Gowtham (T), Hardus Viljoen, Harpreet Brar, J Suchith, Karun Nair, KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, M Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan
Who they bought: Tajinder Dhillon, Prabhsimran Singh, Ravi Bishnoi, Chris Jordan, Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, Sheldon Cottrell, Deepak Hooda, Ishan Porel
Money spent: INR 68.5 crore (US$ 9.6 million approx.)
Potential First XI: Rahul (capt & wk), Agarwal, Mandeep/Nair, Pooran, Maxwell, Sarfraz/Hooda, Gowtham, Mujeeb, Shami, Cottrell, Porel
Analysis: Kings XI ensured they got their picks for the first XI in place with the purchase of Maxwell and Cottrell. The likely playing XI looks very strong on paper. However, their bench and overall bowling strength are iffy. Having held on to some of their money, Kings XI had the option of buying more players but decided against it. Could they have bought a back-up opener for Gayle? Could they have paid a little more for Morris to strengthen their bowling more? Time will tell if they got their strategy right.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Who they had: Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Harry Gurney, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Narine
Who they bought: Varun Chakravarthy, M Sidharth, Eoin Morgan, Rahul Tripathi, Pat Cummins, Nikhil Naik, Pravin Tambe, Chris Green, Tom Banton
Money spent: INR 76.5 crore (US$ 10.7 million approx.)
Potential First XI: Tripathi, Narine, Gill, Karthik (capt & wk), Morgan, Russell, Rana, Cummins, Varun, Kuldeep, Warrier/Prasidh
Analysis: Like most teams, the Knight Riders have a good first XI in place - six bowling options with enough impact players. Morgan, Banton and Green are great additions to this side. But breaking the bank for Cummins could put a lot of pressure on the Australian quick, and barring Narine and Russell, the bowling attack lacks IPL experience. Their bowling performance will determine how they do in IPL 2020.

Mumbai Indians

Who they had: Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McCleneghan, Quinton de Kock, Rahul Chahar, Rohit Sharma, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult (T)
Who they bought: Mohsin Khan, Digvijay Deshmukh, Prince Balwant Rai Singh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary
Money spent: INR 83.05 crore (US$ 11.6 million approx.)
Potential First XI: Rohit (capt), de Kock (wk), Suryakumar, Kishan (wk), Hardik, Krunal, Pollard, Chahar, Coulter-Nile/Malinga, Bumrah, Boult
Analysis: Similar to the Super Kings, Mumbai had a limited purse and made best use of it. They got a back-up for Malinga in Coulter-Nile and Lynn was a replacement for Evin Lewis. Known for their scouting schemes, it will be interesting to see how Mumbai make use of the new domestic recruits. The only cause of concern is the spin department. Mumbai could look to use the trading window to pick up a spinner or two from other teams.

Rajasthan Royals

Who their had: Ankit Rajpoot (T), Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Mayank Markande (T), Rahul Tewatia (T), Riyan Parag, Sanju Samson, Shashank Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Steven Smith, Varun Aaron
Who they bought: Kartik Tyagi, Anuj Rawat, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Akash Singh, David Miller, Robin Uthappa, Jaydev Unadkat, Aniruddha Joshi, Andrew Tye, Tom Curran, Oshane Thomas
Money spent: INR 70.25 crore (US$ 9.9 million approx.)
Potential First XI: Buttler (wk), Uthappa, Samson (wk), Smith, Stokes, Parag, Jaiswal/Tewatia, Rajpoot, Markande/Shreyas, Archer, Unadkat
Analysis: The Royals went into the auction only to buy back-ups and low-key options since their four overseas players and first XI were set. They did end up buying some good reserves, and invested a lot in the Under-19 players. There are no gaping holes in their squad apart from the fact that the bowling attack lacks variety - four overseas right-arm quicks and three wristspinners seems a bit one-dimensional. Overall, they had a good auction and will hope it's reflected on the field.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Who they had: AB de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Parthiv Patel, Pawan Negi, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Virat Kohli, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal
Who they bought: Josh Philippe, Shahbaz Ahamad, Kane Richardson, Isuru Udana, Pavan Deshpande, Chris Morris, Dale Steyn, Aaron Finch
Money spent: INR 78.6 crore (US$ 11 million approx.)
Potential First XI: Finch, Parthiv (wk), Kohli (capt), de Villiers, Moeen, Dube, Morris, Chahal, Umesh/Sundar, Saini, Siraj
Analysis: Similar to the Capitals, the Royal Challengers were outbidded more than once, mainly by Kings XI and the Knight Riders. They were, therefore, forced to pick second- or third-choice overseas players towards the end of the auction. Kohli definitely has more bowling options than ever before, but the pressure on Finch and Parthiv will be a bit high - they need to take the load off Kohli and de Villiers. If the Royal Challengers have to play two overseas quicks, they have to sacrifice their opening slot otherwise they need to depend on Indian quicks. If, by chance, Morris is injured or not in form, their perennial problems will return. Identifying the best XI early in the tournament will decide how they progress.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Who they had: Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Billy Stanlake, David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha
Who they bought: Mitchell Marsh, Fabian Allen, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Sanjay Yadav, Abdul Samad, Sandeep Bawanaka
Money spent: INR 74.9 crore (US$ 10.5 million approx.)
Potential First XI: Warner, Bairstow (wk), Garg, Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Allen/Nabi/Marsh, Rashid, Bhuvneshwar, Kaul, Khaleel
Analysis: Sunrisers had a very quiet auction, and got most of their players fairly easily. Warner and Bairstow have to do the bulk of the scoring again up front since their Indian core is relatively inexperienced. They might find it hard to play Williamson in the upcoming season. If they do decide to go that route, the Indian bowlers and middle order need to perform above par. Sunrisers will do well to replicate last season's performance.

Gaurav Sundararaman is a senior stats analyst at ESPNcricinfo