Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings look stable after some exciting purchases at the auction. They are not perfect yet but able to work on the weaknesses.
The mini-auction for IPL 2021 turned out to be a mega affair for some players and franchises. There were some unexpected purchases. There were some record-broken buys. As expected, Punjab Kings spent the most but still ended the day with INR 18.80 crores in the purse. For Delhi Capitals, most areas were covered at the auction. While both sides look strong, they still have some weak areas. But now that the cores are in place, the teams should be able to work on the shortages.
Auction buys (INR): Tom Curran (5.25 crores), Steven Smith (2.2 crores), Sam Billings (2 crores), Umesh Yadav (1 crore), Ripal Patel (20 lakhs), Vishnu Vinod (20 lakhs), Lukman Meriwala (20 lakhs), M Siddharth (20 lakhs)
Full squad: Shreyas Iyer (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Chris Woakes, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Lalit Yadav, Lukman Meriwala, Manimaran Siddharth, Marcus Stoinis, Praveen Dubey, Prithvi Shaw, R Ashwin, Ripal Patel, Rishabh Pant, Sam Billings, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Steven Smith, Tom Curran, Umesh Yadav, Vishnu Vinod
Delhi Capitals reached the final of IPL 2020. They seemed a well-balanced team. They had a strong Indian batting line up, consisting of Dhawan, Shaw, Rahane, Iyer, and Pant. They also used Stoinis as opener with limited success. They have now strengthened the top order further with the purchase of Smith and Billings. They have also added Curran and Umesh to cover for any injuries to their frontline pacers Rabada, Nortje, and Ishant.
However, Delhi Capitals are still missing a quality all-rounder alongside Stoinis. They could have gone for all-round options like Shivam Dube, Moises Henriques or Ben Cutting. This is one area they could face challenges, especially in case of injuries. The backup spin options beyond Axar Patel and R Ashwin look slightly thinner. Amit Mishra does not have age on his side and the new purchase M Siddharth is untested.
Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Prithvi Shaw, Sam Billings, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma
Auction buys (INR): Jhye Richardson (14 crores), Riley Meredith (8 crores), Shahrukh Khan (5.25 crores), Moises Henriques (4.2 crores), Dawid Malan (1.5 crores), Fabian Allen (75 lakhs), Jalaj Saxena (30 lakhs), Saurabh Kumar (20 lakhs), Utkarsh Singh (20 lakhs)
Full squad: KL Rahul (c), Arshdeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Chris Jordan, Darshan Nalkande, Dawid Malan, Deepak Hooda, Fabian Allen, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Jalaj Saxena, Jhye Richardson, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Moises Henriques, Murugan Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran, Prabhsimran Singh, Ravi Bishnoi, Riley Meredith, Sarfaraz Khan, Saurabh Kumar, Shahrukh Khan, Utkarsh Singh
Punjab Kings came to the auction with the biggest purse after releasing quite a few big names including Glenn Maxwell. They spent most of their money in purchasing Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, both of whom had successful BBL stints. They also made smart buys like Malan and Shahrukh, who are in good T20 form. They, along with Mandeep and Pooran, can play at any position in the middle order. They also have good backup all-rounders like Henriques and Allen to challenge Jordan in case of injury or off-form.
The team still looks batting-heavy. If they want to play both Richardson and Meredith, they will be left with only two remaining overseas spots in the eleven. Hence, they will depend on Shami to lead the pack along with one of the Australians. However, the other fast-bowling options do not impress as much; they might have gone with Indian pace bowling options like Umesh, Aaron or Rajpoot.
Predicted XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Shahrukh Khan, Chris Jordan, Mohammed Shami, Jhey Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh.
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