The auction for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League was held on 19th December 2019. Most of the teams had little work to do since they had retained their core squad. All eyes were on the Indian domestic heavyweights, as well as some in-form foreign players, who had either been released or not taken part in the previous auctions. Pat Cummins ended up as the highest-paid foreigner in the league's history, with ₹15.5 crore.
All the teams were looking to iron out a few vulnerabilities, which had haunted them in the previous season. While some teams did this beautifully, others failed to pick up ideal players for the particular role. This might haunt them in the games, where other teams would look to exploit their weaknesses.
On this note, let us rate the teams according to their buys in the auctions.
#8 Royal Challengers Bangalore
All eyes were on Royal Challengers Bangalore in this auction. Preceding this auction, the team had released as many as 11 players, and had to build a formidable squad with a purse value of only ₹27.9 crore. Skipper Virat Kohli had promised to do so but the squad doesn't look to have all the boxes ticked.
The team made a blunder by picking up Chris Morris for a hefty amount of ₹10 crore. The South African all-rounder couldn't perform well in the Mzansi Super League and was released by the Delhi Capitals due to his poor outings last season. However, the Bangalore-based franchise went madly after him and ended up conceding a huge amount.
The team also bought Kane Richardson and Dale Steyn, who will give them some options in the death bowling. However, there is no injruy replacement for them. The only buy which might truly benefit the franchise would be of Aaron Finch. He will help the team settle their batting order and might take some pressure off of skipper Kohli and AB de Villiers. The flat Chinnaswamy track will suit his explosive game.
#7 Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians, the defending champions from the last season, had little work to do at this year's auctions. Going into the auctions, the team had a purse value of only ₹13.05 crore, the least among all teams. This could have been used to buy an Indian middle-order batsman or a backup all-rounder.
The team made a steal by picking up in-form Chis Lynn at his base price. Lynn had performed considerably well last year and gave another glimpse of his form in the Global T20 Canada this year. However, with Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Cock and Suryakumar Yadav already forming the top-order, his inclusion might disturb the balance or he will have to warm the bench.
The only other big buy from the franchise was of Nathan Coulter-Nile, who was procured by the team at a whopping ₹8 crore. With Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Mcclenghan already in the mix and Dhawal Kulkarni forming a backup, he is likely to be on the sidelines throughout the season.
Therefore, the team's pick from the auctions doesn't seem to be of great utility. However, their squad was already well-settled, and it would be no surprise, if the team performs well once again in the upcoming season.
#6 Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders was the team that procured this year's biggest buy in the form of Pat Cummins. Having gone into the auctions with the second-highest purse value of ₹35.65 crore, the team had plenty of areas to work upon, after failing to qualify for the playoffs last season. These included some good death bowling options, and strengthening the batting department.
Cummins will sort out the woes in the death bowling. Moreover, the addition of Eoin Morgan, Tom Banton, and Rahul Tripathi gives them some extra options in the batting department. However, with Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, and Dinesh Karthik already in the team, it would be interesting to see how all of them are given a due.
Moreover, the team had released Carlos Braithwaite ahead of the auctions, which meant they had to go for a backup all-rounder for Andre Russell. However, they didn't pick any big all-rounder from the auctions. This will mean that if the big-hitter from West-Indies gets injured, then the team will have no other option readily available to replace him.
Also, there is no Indian support for pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi. If they get injured, the team will have to bring in Lockie Ferguson as replacement. If that happens, it will come at the cost of Eoin Morgan's place in the playing XI. Therefore, the onus would now be on the team to keep all thse players fit throughout the season.
#5 Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings is a team, which has never believed in frequent chopping of the core team. For the same reason, the MS Dhoni-led franchise retained 20 players and went into the auctions with only ₹14.6 crore. This was almost the same squad that reached the finals of the last season, and the franchise only needed to find some backups.
The team procured Australian quick Josh Hazlewood at his base price of ₹2 crore. He is a like-to-like replacement for released David Willey and gives a backup option for Lungi Ngidi and Dwayne Bravo, who are injury-prone.
However, the biggest buy came in the form of England's bowling all-rounder Sam Curran, who was bought at ₹5.5 crore. The Chennai-based franchise had played most of the last season with only three overseas players. With his addition, the team looks to have four excellent foreign options.
The team also bought Piyush Chawala and R Sai Kishore. The two spinners give Captain Cool additional options in the spin department, which already includes the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner and Harbhajan Singh. However, the team sprung a big surprise by not picking any backup batsman for Shane Watson, who hasn't played much competitve cricket since the last year's IPL.
#4 Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad had retained 18 players and had a little work to do at the auctions. The team went into the auction with a purse of ₹17 crore, hoping to cover some backup options as well as batsmen for the lower middle order. They didn't go after any big names and invested heavily in young players.
The franchise bought Priyam Garg and Virat Singh, the two young Indian players who have recently grabbed headlines for being appointed as the captain of India U-19 team and impressive performances in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy respectively. Both being aggressive players, can help to provide the team with finishing in the death overs.
The team also bought Mitchell Marsh and Fabien Allen. However, these players are highly unlikely to get any chance, since the team has very solid foreign options in David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Rashid Khan, and Kane Williamson. Thus, these buys seemed to be a bit surprising.
Surprisingly, the team didn't go after any Indian pacer. Although the team already had a decent pace collection, comprising Indian options like Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed. Bhuvneshwar has been injury prone lately, which might put them in need of a backup Indian fast bowler later.
#3 Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals had all the reasons to be happy after the auction. The team that finished seventh in the previous edition, had decided to release all the underperforming players and went into the auctions with a purse value of ₹28.9 crore. They returned with some excellent backup foreign options and exciting Indian prospects.
After trading away Ajinkya Rahane and releasing Rahul Tripathi, the team was looking for a solid middle order to support Jos Buttler. To abridge this gap, they bought a young 17-year-old Yashasvi Jaiswal and an experienced Robin Uthappa. Uthappa has been a consistent performer in the tournament over the year, whereas Yashasvi recently grabbed headlines for becoming the youngest cricketer to slam a double ton in List-A cricket.
The Rajasthan-based franchise also bought back Jaydev Unadkat for ₹3 crore, which is ₹5 crore fewer than his last season's price. He, along with Ankit Rajpoot and another teen sensation Akash Singh, will provide probable skipper Steve Smith with plenty of Indian bowling options.
The team also bought some excellent backup options for their four premium foreign players. The previously released Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye and Tom Curran will provide the team with three additional fast bowling options. On the other hand, David Miller can the ideal replacement for Steve Smith or Jos Buttler in cases of injury or unavailability.
The team looks now well settled on paper, and might be a team to watch out for, if all the players perfom to their full potential.
#2 Delhi Capitals
Delhi Capitals made some pretty smart decisions this time around. Having already bought in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane during trade window, the team, which had finished third last time, had very few loopholes. They had a purse of ₹27.85 crore, and the team used it smartly to buy a few backups and good foreign options.
Shimron Hetmyer, at ₹7.75 crore, became their most expensive pick. The team had issues with the lower middle order last time around, since Colin Ingram and Sherfane Rutherford were unable to perform well. However, with in-form Hetmyer in the mix, this issue too looks well sorted out.
Moreover, the team also bought Jason Roy and Alex Carey as a backup options in opening and wicketkeeping respectively. Another big pick was Marcus Stoinis, who will fill the all-rounders' slot in the team, and play a backup role to Axar Patel.
In the bowling department, the team picked Chris Woakes and Mohit Sharma. Mohit, Avesh Khan, Ishant Sharma, and Harshal Patel will give the team plenty of Indian pacers to choose from. Also, Woakes can form a deadly pair with Kagiso Rabada, and exploit the bowling friendly conditions of Arun Jaitely Stadium.
#1 Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab went into the auction with the highest amount amongst all the teams (₹42.7 crore). And to the surprise of none, they used it beautifully to cover all their bases. The franchise needed to buy a good all-rounder, settle their middle order and find some backup options in every department.
The team first targeted Glenn Maxwell. Looking at the current form, Maxwell can be a valuable addition to any team's lower middle order. There was a heavy bidding war, but in the end, it was the Kings who bought him for a whopping ₹10.75 crore. The Australian all-rounder is a like-to-like replacement for David Miller, with the added asset of his bowling.
The team also made a steal by picking up the in-form Jimmy Neesham at his base price. A replacement for the released Sam Curran, Neesham can form a deadly batting pair with Maxwell and also give some economical overs. The team also bought Deepak Hooda, who can be a backup to any of these two stars.
Moving on to the bowling department, the Punjab-based franchise bought Ishan Porel and Sheldon Cotrell. Cotrell, with his ability to swing the ball, can prove to be a handy new ball bowler. Moreover, both of them are in excellent form. With the addition of such stars, KXIP looks a complete team, and all set to wreck havoc in the upcoming season.