The 10th season of the Indian Premier League will get underway a couple of days from now and teams would be vying to win the coveted trophy. Players from different countries have started joining their respective teams and preparations are in full swing. While a number of foreign players have pulled out of the tournament this year owing to injuries and personal issues, there are still quite a few players who could make a difference for their sides.
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We look at the most important foreign players of each team:
1) Kolkata Knight Riders : Sunil Narine
The Carribean tweaker has been one of the most consistent performers for his team, and has helped KKR to two IPL titles. The mystery bowler has suffered from a dip in form since his action change, but is still a class act and would be Gautam Gambhir's go to man this year as well. Narine has bamboozled batsmen with his variations and is extremely difficult to get away. KKR would hope he is back to his very best come the IPL and help KKR win their third title.
2) Gujarat Lions : Brendon Mccullum
The former Kiwi skipper might have retired from international cricket but is still one of the World's most dangerous t20 batsmen as was evident in The Big Bash League. Mccullum set the tone of the IPL when he scored a superb 158 in the first match of the cash rich league and has since been brilliant for every team he has played for. Gujarat Lions would be hoping he carries his form from the BBL and gives them a good platform at the top of the innings. Dwayne Bravo might be touted as the most important player of the side by experts, but he is nursing an injury and is expected to be out for the first half of the season. Mccullum needs to use all his experience and lead the Gujarat Lions to their maiden IPL title.
3) Sunrisers Hyderabad : David Warner
A no brainer, the swashbuckling opener led SRH to their maiden IPL title and was sensational throughout the tournament. Warner was the second highest run scorer in the tournament behind Virat Kohli and was like a one man army in the batting department. While he did not have a memorable tour of India, he is an entirely different player in the limited overs format and SRH would look to their captain to give them explosive starts along with Shikhar Dhawan and help them retain their title.
4) Royal Challengers Bangalore : Chris Gayle
A close call between Gayle and AB de Villiers, the Carribean opener just edges past the Proteas' superstar due to his ability to win matches single handedly and the fact that he plays more overs than AB. Gayle has been splendid for RCB and has won lots of games for them with his explosive batting. His 175 against Pune Warriors is still the highest score by any batsman in T-20 cricket. Sadly, he has not been able to deliver an IPL title for his side. The Universal Boss, as he is called, would be looking to smash bowlers to all parts of the ground again and help Bangalore go all the way.
5) Rising Pune Supergiants : Ben Stokes
It might be his debut season in the IPL, but Stokes has proved his mettle in international cricket and could be the perfect buy for Steven Smith's side who could propel them to the title. Stokes was the highest buy this season, with a number of teams wying for his services, and it was the RPS who eventually snapped him. Stokes is a handy customer with both bat and ball, and can tonk the ball big. With him and MS Dhoni in the middle order, RPS can capitalise on a good start and reach a huge total .
6) Delhi Daredevils : Chris Morris
The South African all rounder was bought at a huge amount in last year's auction, and delivered the goods for his side. Morris was equally brilliant with both ball and bat and delivered a few match winning performances for his side. Morris would be expected to make a huge impression this time around as well, and help Delhi reach the playoffs. With Duminy and De Kock opting out of this year's tournament, the onus would be on Morris and Carlos Brathwaite to deliver the goods this time.
7) Mumbai Indians : Lasith Malinga
The highest wicket taker in the IPL has been injured for a few months now but is expected to be fit for this year's IPL. Malinga is a real asset for Mumbai in the death overs with his variations and toe crushing yorkers, and along with Jasprit Bumrah, would look to keep the batsman quiet in the death overs. Malinga is a legend for the Mumbai Indians and they missed him immensely last season.
8) Kings XI Punjab : Glenn Maxwell
The "Big Show" as he is called, had a wonderful start to his KXIP career when he smashed opponents to all parts in the 2014 season. The next two seasons have been underwhelming, but he is in form and would be looking to turn his team's fortunes around this season. Maxwell has been appointed the captain this season and with added responsibility, he is expected to deliver big this season.