Chennai Super Kings
CSK players and support staff during a practice session at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai (Image: Twitter/@ChennaiIPL)
While their rivals Mumbai Indians have won the most number of IPL titles, it is the Chennai Super Kings that have a marginally higher win percentage (59.8 percent compared to MI's 59.1 percent) of all eight teams.
CSK will be looking at getting back to the winning ways after a disappointing 2020 season. Last year, the team failed to make it past the league stage for the first time.
They have now included the services of all-rounder and off-spinner Moeen Ali, who will be a key for them on Indian wickets.
The squad carries a lot of experience players including Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo. But this is a double-edged sword. The squad has also been described as a pack of ageing superstars.
Skipper Dhoni, who will turn 40 in July, has already retired from international cricket. So, the question is: would this be his last IPL?
Squad: MS Dhoni (Captain), Ambati Rayudu, C Hari Nishanth, Cheteshwar Pujara, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Harisankar Reddy, Imran Tahir, Jason Behrendorff, K Bhagath Varma, K Gowtham, Karn Sharma, KM Asif, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Moeen Ali, Narayan Jagadeesan, R Sai Kishore, Ravindra Jadeja, Robin Uthappa, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur and Suresh Raina
First-timers: K Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishaanth and M Harisankar Reddy
Head coach: Stephen Fleming
2020 position: Seventh
Team owner: India Cements
Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting and assistant coach Mohammad Kaif during a practice session (Image: Twitter/@DelhiCapitals)
The 2020 finalists will be hoping to recreate the magic on the field and get the final step right. But a lack of like-for-like replacements means that their top performers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje wouldn’t be rested enough.
In Sheryas Iyer’s absence due to an injury, Rishabh Pant has been handed the mantle of the team. Under coach Ricky Ponting, Pant would be keen on proving his leadership skills.
Steve Smith, R Ashwin, Tom Curran, Axar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw’s performance will be crucial for the team representing the national capital.
Squad: Rishabh Pant (Captain), 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, Sam Billings, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Steven Smith, Tom Curran, Umesh Yadav, Vishnu Vinod and Shreyas Iyer (ruled out)
First-timers: Ripal Patel and Lukman Meriwala
Head coach: Ricky Ponting
2020 position: Runners-up
Team owner: JSW Group, GMR Group
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR coach Brendon McCullum and skipper Eoin Morgan during a practice session (Image: Twitter/@KKRiders)
This will be Eoin Morgan’s first full-time stint as the captain of the two-time champions. The Kolkata-based team have added all-rounders Shakib-Al-Hasan and Ben Cutting to their armour.
Yet, the team would require the likes of Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav to fire all cylinders to get them closer to the title.
Squad: Eoin Morgan (Captain), Andre Russell, Ben Cutting, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Karun Nair, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Pat Cummins, Pawan Negi, Prasidh Krishna, Rahul Tripathi, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Tim Seifert, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravathi and Venkatesh Iyer
First-timers: Venkatesh Iyer and Vaibhav Arora
Head coach: Brendon McCullum
2020 position: Fifth
Team owner: Red Chillies Entertainment, Mehta Group
Mumbai Indians players Dhawal Kulkarni, Arjun Tendulkar and Aditya Tare during a practice session (Image: Twitter/@mipaltan)
With a set winning machine, Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians are playing not only to win a record sixth title, but to consolidate their position as one of the greatest Twenty20 sides.
For this, they will require not only their stars such as Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Trent Boult, but also Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan to fire. They still have some hiccups in the spin bowling department, but that’s where Piyush Chawla’s experience could come handy for Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya.
Of course, all eyes will also be on former Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun. It remains to be seen if the 21-year-old will get a game.
Squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Adam Milne, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Arjun Tendulkar, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, James Neesham, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Marco Jansen, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Quinton de Kock, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult and Yudhvir Singh Charak
First-timers: Arjun Tendulkar, Yudhvir Charak and Marco Jansen
Head coach: Mahela Jayawardene
2020 position: Champions
Team owner: Reliance Industries
Mandeep Singh during a practice session (Image: Twitter/@PunjabKingsIPL)
They have rebranded themselves as the Punjab Kings. But will that change their fortunes? Something like this had helped Delhi Capitals (erstwhile Delhi Daredevils) earlier. But making an impression would be a tough task for a team that has not made it to the Playoffs since 2014.
Captained by KL Rahul, the team has a strongest batting line-up comprising the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle and Mandeep Singh. They are also backed by the world's number one T20I batsman Dawid Malan. However, lack of quality spinners remains their weakness.
Squad: KL Rahul (Captain), 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 and Utkarsh Singh
First-timers: Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Shahrukh Khan, Saurabh Kumar and Utkarsh Singh
Head coach: Anil Kumble
2020 position: Sixth
Team owner: Mohit Burman, Ness Wadia, Preity Zinta and Karan Paul
Jos Buttler during an IPL match in 2020 (Image: Twitter/@rajasthanroyals)
Despite having the services of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, David Miller, Shivam Dube and Chris Morris, the Royals finished at the bottom of the table in 2020.
The team is likely to sport a relatively weak bowling department as they are set to miss the services of Jofra Archer for the first half of the season.
The team has described as IPL’s “perennial underdogs” by some. Now led by Samson, can they revive lost glory?
Squad: Sanju Samson (Captain), Akash Singh, Andrew Tye, Anuj Rawat, Ben Stokes, Chetan Sakariya, Chris Morris, David Miller, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Kartik Tyagi, KC Cariappa, Kuldip Yadav, Liam Livingstone, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Mayank Markande, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Gopal and Yashasvi Jaiswal
First-timers: Chetan Sakariya, Akash Singh and Kuldip Yadav
Director of Cricket: Kumar Sangakkara
2020 position: Eighth
Team owner: Manoj Badale, Amisha Hathiramani and Lachlan Murdoch
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli during a practice session (Image: Twitter/@RCBTweets)
You will either find them in the Playoffs or in the bottom two of the table. Despite having AB de Villiers, Kane Richardson, Mohammed Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal at the core of the squad, the Virat Kohli-led side has never won the IPL.
Chahal will play a crucial role with the ball as RCB will play many of their games on the slow tracks of Ahmedabad and Chennai.
They have now added Aussie all-rounder Glenn Maxwell to propel them closer to the title. RCB also got wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Azharuddeen, who had a strike-rate of 194.5 in this year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), AB de Villiers, Adam Zampa, Daniel Christian, Daniel Sams, Devdutt Padikkal, Glenn Maxwell, Harshal Patel, Joshua Philippe, Kane Richardson, KS Bharat, Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Pavan Deshpande, Rajat Patidar, Sachin Baby, Shahbaz Ahmed, Suyash Prabhudessai, Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal
First-timers: Kyle Jamieson, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen and Suyash Prabhudessai
Head coach: Simon Katich
2020 position: Fourth
Team owner: United Spirits Limited
Rashid Khan during a practice match (Image: Twitter/@SunRisers)
Since 2013 when the side came into existence, they have managed to make it to the Playoffs all but twice. But they have not been able to get their hands on to the trophy since 2016.
Led by Aussie David Warner, SRH have an impressive batting order that includes Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey. The bowling department is led by Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But they will require Mujeeb Ur Rahman, T Natarajan and Vijay Shankar, among others, to help them clinch the title.
Squad: David Warner (Captain), Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jagadeesha Suchith, Jason Holder, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Kedar Jadhav, Khaleel Ahmed, Manish Pandey, Mitchell Marsh, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Priyam Garg, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan, Vijay Shankar, Virat Singh and Wriddhiman Saha
Head coach: Trevor Bayliss
2020 position: Third
Team owner: SUN Group