IPL 2017: the top teams, the key players and the best catches of all time!

IPL 2017 is now underway with eight teams fighting it out over the coming weeks to be crowned champions on Finals day in Hyderabad on 21st May. This is the 10th edition of the T20 blockbuster and it’s set to be a cracker, with big-hitters, death bowlers and spin demons galore. Here’s our round-up of the teams and a taste of the action with some of the tournament’s craziest catches. Sit back and enjoy!

IPL 2017 Teams

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Best result: Runners-up (2009, 2011, 2016)

Player to watch: Tymal Mills

  • City: Bengaluru
  • Home ground: M. Chinnaswamy Stadium
  • Coach: Daniel Vettori
  • Captain: Virat Kohli
  • Overseas players: Samuel Badree, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Travis Head, Tymal Mills, Adam Milne, Tabraiz Shamsi, Billy Stanlake, Shane Watson

The RCB team is littered with match-winners, from crafty leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to six-hitting global superstar Chris Gayle. But the real top dog is Virat Kohli: he’s a brilliant captain, No.1 in the world T20 batting rankings and averaged over 83 during IPL 2016. He’s been sidelined with injury for the first few games, but if he makes it back RCB could go all the way in 2017.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Best result: Winners (2016)

Player to watch: Mohammad Nabi

  • City: Hyderabad
  • Home ground: Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium
  • Coach: Tom Moody
  • Captain: David Warner
  • Overseas players: Ben Cutting, Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Rashid Khan, Ben Laughlin, Mohammad Nabi, Mustafizur Rahman, David Warner, Kane Williamson

Sunrisers Hyderabad went all the way in 2016, beating RCB by just eight runs in Bengaluru, and their strength in depth means they’ve got a pretty good chance of becoming only the second IPL team to win consecutive titles (the first was the currently suspended Chennai Super Kings). If they do make it, they’ll also have home advantage – the Final is due to be played in Hyderabad.

Mumbai Indians

Best result: Winners (2013, 2015)

Player to watch: Jos Buttler

  • City: Mumbai
  • State: Maharashtra
  • Home ground: Wankhede Stadium
  • Coach: Mahela Jayawardene
  • Captain: Rohit Sharma
  • Overseas players: Jos Buttler, Asela Gunaratne, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Lendl Simmons, Tim Southee

They’ve won the title twice and are mentored by former player Sachin Tendulkar, so the Mumbai Indians have plenty of pedigree. They also have a new coach in the shape of Sri Lankan great Mahela Jayawardene and welcome back pace bowler Lasith Malinga to the squad. He’s the IPL’s leading wicket-taker but had to miss the 2016 event because of a knee injury.

Delhi Daredevils

Best result: Knockout stages (2008, 2009, 2012)

Player to watch: Karun Nair

  • City: Delhi
  • Home ground: Feroz Shah Kotla Ground
  • Coach: Paddy Upton
  • Captain: Zaheer Khan
  • Overseas players: Corey Anderson, Sam Billings, Carlos Brathwaite, Pat Cummins, Quinton de Kock, Ben Hilfenhaus, Angelo Mathews, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada

Delhi have never won the competition and finished a lowly sixth in 2016, so they’ll be looking to improve hugely in 2017 under the captaincy of Zaheer Kahn and mentorship of Rahul Dravid. Injuries have hit the team hard this season and there’s a pretty youthful look to the side, so Dravid’s wisdom will be crucial to success on the pitch.

Gujarat Lions

Best result: Knockout stages (2016)

Player to watch: Dwayne Smith

  • City: Rajkot
  • State: Gujarat
  • Home ground: Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium
  • Coach: Brad Hodge
  • Captain: Suresh Raina
  • Overseas players: Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Jason Roy, Dwayne Smith, Chirag Suri, Andrew Tye

The Gujarat Lions were drafted in to replace the suspended Chennai Super Kings for 2016 and 2017, and they did pretty well in their first season, reaching the knockout stages. They have a well-balanced side and some power batting in the shape of Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum and new six-hitting signing Jason Roy. They also have the world No.1 bowler in the shape of spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

Rising Pune Supergiant

Best result: Group stages (2016)

Player to watch: Ben Stokes

  • City: Pune
  • State: Maharashtra
  • Home ground: Maharashtra Cricket Association’s International Stadium
  • Coach: Stephen Fleming
  • Captain: Steve Smith
  • Overseas players: Dan Christian, Faf du Plessis, Lockie Ferguson, Usman Khawaja, Imran Tahir, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Adam Zampa

They’ve dropped an ‘s’ from the end of their name for 2017 and swapped captains from MS Dhoni to Steve Smith, but otherwise RPS are a similar set-up for their second season in IPL. The major signing for this year is hugely talented Englishman Ben Stokes, who went for a record fee in the auction. The big stage awaits!

Kolkata Knight Riders

Best result: Winners (2012, 2014)

Player to watch: Chris Woakes

  • City: Kolkata
  • State: West Bengal
  • Home ground: Eden Gardens
  • Coach: Jacques Kallis
  • Captain: Gautam Gambhir
  • Overseas players: Shakib Al Hasan, Trent Boult, Darren Bravo, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Rovman Powell, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes

KKR have been one of the most consistent performers in the IPL over the years, and 2017 should be no different. They have a really well-rounded team and some star overseas players, plus the vastly experienced player-turned-manager Jacques Kallis at the helm. Losing the charismatic Andre Russell was a big blow, but Woakes makes a great replacement all-rounder.

Kings XI Punjab

Best result: Runners-up (2014)

Player to watch: Thangarasu Natarajan

  • City: Mohali
  • State: Punjab
  • Home ground: IS Bindra Stadium
  • Coach: Virender Sehwag
  • Captain: Glenn Maxwell
  • Overseas players: Hashim Amla, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Eoin Morgan, Darren Sammy, Marcus Stoinis

After making it to their first and only Final in 2014, Kings XI Punjab finished up with the wooden spoon in 2015 and 2016. So they’ll be desperate to avoid a repeat performance this time round and have made some changes for the new season, including giving the captaincy to Aussie Glenn Maxwell and making some crafty auction bids, signing big-hitting Eoin Morgan and young bowler Thangarasu Natarajan for the new season.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Header photo via Wikimedia Commons.