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Cricket news - IPL 2019 pre-season ratings: How the teams stand

Eight teams have been analysed on five different front before the start of the season.

With the world's most popular T20 extravaganza all set to commence in a few days, each team has been analysed in various departments taking several criteria into consideration. Based on past reputation, current form and performances in the previous season, each team's strengths and weaknesses were rated on five parameters. With certain players expected to leave early and the top Indian players potentially getting rested ahead of the World Cup, the team balance is largely rated based on the squad depth.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

Top-order - 9/10

In Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson and Suresh Raina, CSK have one of the most reliable top orders in the competition. Last year, the solid starts helped them average 36.48 per wicket - more than five runs per over than the next best side and eventually, they went past 200 four times, which was the most by any team.

Finishing - 9/10

CSK scored at 11.64 in the last five overs in IPL 2018. They also scored over 40 runs in the last three overs in five run chases last season and ended up winning four of those. And this time, they will have a fully-fit Kedar Jadhav as well to add to the mix for finishing duties.

Wicket-taking options - 7.5/10

On tracks that are expected to be slow in Chennai, the home side will have plenty of spin options. Lungi Ngidi has been amongst the wickets post his comeback but CSK will need more support from the Indian pace contingent.

Death bowling - 6.5/10

If there is ever a weakness, it is their death bowling. CSK were guilty of conceding far too many runs in their title-winning campaign. Dwayne Bravo, who usually delivers at the death, conceded at 11.25 per over in the last IPL and that increased to 12 in the corresponding CPL.

Team balance - 9/10

Loads of options in the bowling department and there is flexibility in the batting department as well. CSK's backup options are solid as well and that provides them a very balanced look.

MUMBAI INDIANS

Top-order - 7.5

Suryakumar Yadav had a great outing last time and looks to be in form once again heading into the 2019 edition but he does take his time at the start of the innings much like his opening partner Evin Lewis, which could be an issue. Ishan Kishan had a disappointing IPL 2018 and if he fails to fire again, MI could struggle at the top.

Finishing - 9/10

Easily one of their strengths. Purely by reputation, a middle order of Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers is intimidating. Last year they struggled, but expect them to bounce back this season.

Wicket-taking options - 8/10

Inexperienced in spin but vastly experienced in pace. Mayank Markande's debut showing should give MI confidence. Mitchell McClenaghan has been a strike option early in the powerplay and with Jasprit Bumrah and a few other overseas seamers in the mix, MI will back themselves to pick regular wickets.

Death bowling - 7/10

They may have Bumrah but how effective will Lasith Malinga be now to complement him? MI lost a couple of games from winning positions after struggling in death overs last year including the tournament opener against CSK.

Team balance - 8/10

A very well balanced side but with the World Cup approaching, they might have to manage the workload of certain players. They have ideal replacements for most of their first-choice players except for Bumrah.

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

Top-order - 8/10

Their run rate during the powerplay in 2018 read 7.79 - lowest among all sides. But David Warner's return can change things significantly. It remains to be seen how quickly he can get back into the groove and there's also some uncertainty over their batting order at the top. Kane Williamson's presence does give assurance.

Finishing - 5.5/10

It's always been a weak spot for the top heavy SRH across seasons. They scored at 8.89 per over in the death overs last season when the tournament average was 10.15 and lost more wickets (45) at this phase than than any other. In the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, Yusuf Pathan and Deepak Hooda's strike rates read 95.04 and 103.81 respectively.

Wicket-taking options - 9/10

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan and Siddarth Kaul have been amongst the wickets in recent seasons. No wonder they are often labelled the best bowling side in the IPL.

Death bowling - 8.5

Bhuvneshwar is likely to be rested for a few games but SRH still have a reputation for being a top side in the slog overs. They defended four of the five lowest totals in IPL 2018. The economy rate for SRH last year was 8.92 which was the best among all sides (tournament average was 10.15).

Team balance - 9/10

They don't really have a reliable finisher in their setup but overall, the balance looks good with top players available as backups for almost every slot.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

Top-order - 7.5/10

Their top order gets 7.5 only because of the explosive nature of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine. KKR's run rate of 8.75 in the Powerplay is the best among the sides in the last two seasons. But Lynn's form is a concern and there's a feeling that Narine could get easily found out now. Robin Uthappa has reputation but failed to convert his starts last season.

Finishing - 8.5/10

The pair of Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell is perhaps the most reliable one in the tournament. KKR won five of the six matches last season when Karthik remained unbeaten. Russell and Karthik had strike rates of 195 and 175 respectively in the death overs in IPL 2018 with the allrounder hitting a six every fifth ball.

Wicket-taking - 7/10

In terms of striking regularly, Narine hasn't been as effective as he was in the past. Kuldeep Yadav is expected to make inroads but the Indian pace attack looks very thin following injuries to Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi.

Death bowling - 6/10

Absence of a pace spearhead could cause problems for KKR. With no real potent weapon at the death, KKR are expected to leak runs once again.

Team balance - 8/10

What works for KKR despite not having top backups for a lot of players is that they pretty much relied on the same XI to finish third last season. They don't really have players who will have to leave early for the World Cup so that can work to their advantage as well. On the flip side, the Indian pace cupboard is almost barren.

DELHI CAPITALS

Top order - 6.5/10

Shikhar Dhawan is usually a slow starter. Prithvi Shaw's form hasn't been great and Colin Ingram is largely untested here in the IPL. They do look nervy at the top for now.

Finishing - 9/10

With Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant potentially batting 4 and 5, Capitols look well-placed. To compliment these two, they will have Chris Morris and Axar Patel as well.

Wicket-taking options - 7.5/10

Sandeep Lamichhane is a must in their XI as a wicket-taking option. DC also have the likes of Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada but the possibility of both playing in the XI will be difficult. Worst side in terms of economy rate in IPL 2018 - 9.05.

Death bowling - 6.5/10

One of the overseas pacers might get it right but what can the Indian pace contingent offer? DC conceded at 9.75 in the PP while the tournament average was only 8.43.

Team balance - 7/10

They certainly have variety in their bowling attack which is vital. But the batting line up doesn't ooze confidence in case there is an injury concern. The backup options haven't been tested enough.

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

Top-order - 8.5/10

They lost the fewest wickets in the powerplay last year where their run rate of 8.66 was second best after KKR's 9.11. If Kohli and de Villiers bat in the top 3, RCB's top order will look very strong.

Finishing - 7.5/10

They might have signed Shimron Hetmyer but RCB's finishing abilities will be questioned once again. There's no reliable finisher and they might have to rely a lot on newcomer Shivam Dube.

Wicket-taking options - 7/10

Umesh Yadav picked regular wickets with the new ball but can he be trusted again? RCB will look to Yuzvendra Chahal and Nathan Coulter-Nile to help them strike often.

Death bowling - 5/10

No team is as weak as RCB on this front. Their economy rate at the death of 11.87 was the worst last year. Six of their bowlers bowled at least five overs in the death and five of them conceded over 10 per over in IPL 2018.

Team balance - 7/10

The overall team composition doesn't look convincing enough. There is over-reliance on Kohli and AB yet again and this time the Indian skipper might get rested as well in order to ensure he is good for the World Cup. Except for their spin attack, RCB do not have good backups in other departments.

RAJASTHAN ROYALS

Top-order - 6.5/10

Jos Buttler's presence makes them strong especially after last year's heroics. But at the other end, there is Ajinkya Rahane with a SR of 118.24 which is the lowest for any player facing at least 200 balls in the last two editions of IPL

Finishing - 6/10

Will Ashton Turner play or will it be Steve Smith? Where will Rahul Tripathi bat? Will RR use an inexperienced player at 6? There are plenty of questions to answer here and that bit of uncertainty has ensured in a modest rating of just 6.

Wicket-taking options - 5/10

Royals will have to look around whenever they are in search for a wicket. Shreyas Gopal has been good in the domestic T20s and Jofra Archer will be eyeing a productive IPL. K Gowtham was the leading spinner in PP last IPL taking eight wickets at an economy of just over seven.

Death bowling - 7.5/10

There is Archer who is traditionally known to delivery at this stage but they need Unadkat to chip in as well like he did for RPS back in 2017. Apart from these two, the rest might struggle.

Team balance - 6/10

Thin on backup Indian pacers, absence of top players as backup options and the departure of Stokes, Buttler and potentially Archer as well might cost RR big time.

KINGS XI PUNJAB

Top-order - 9.5

On form and reputation, is there a better top order in the IPL? KL Rahul and Chris Gayle are expected to fire big time this year and might as well bat deep into the innings many a time. Rahul scored at a SR of 157.58 in the first six overs last season; scored more runs in this phase last year - 364

Finishing - 5/10

Post Gayle and Rahul, the batting does look very thin. New recruit Nicholas Pooran looks to be only candidate capable of giving this side a much needed push at the death.

Wicket-taking options - 5.5/10

Ravichandran Ashwin isn't really amongst the wickets these days and they need ex-factor in the form of Mueeb. The pace options do not ooze confidence. Can new man Varun Chakravarthy strike?

Death bowling - 6/10

History tells us Andrew Tye is reliable. KXIP need more than just Tye though to complement in the death overs which is going to be an area of concern.

Team balance - 5/10

No wonder KXIP are probably looking the weakest of the lot. Their overseas combination is screwed up because of which they will never get to play their best XI.

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