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Aakash Chopra calls early, predicts IPL 2017 Play-off Teams  

Former India opener Aakash Chopra took to twitter to predict 4 teams who will qualify for the Play-offs this season

Aakash Chopra
(Photo Source: Twitter)

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is popularly known as a shrewd analyzer of the game. His analysis and predictions are very accurate and precise, just like his batting. Chopra, who won 10 Test caps for India, has already predicted the four teams who will go through to the Playoffs in this year’s IPL.

Chopra, who himself has featured in 7 IPL games in his playing days, has picked last year’s champions, Sunrisers Hyderabad; 2-time champions, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders; and last year’s table toppers, Gujarat Lions as his four teams who will end up qualifying for the Playoffs this year. Interestingly, he hasn’t picked RCB, who always carry the favourites tag in the IPL; amongst his four teams to qualify further for the business end of the tournament.

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Sunrisers were off to a flying start last night. The defending champions beat last year’s finalists RCB convincingly by 35-runs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Their chances of going ahead in the tournament are very high, given that they have a very strong unit. The early indication of Yuvraj’s good form only adds to their chances. The Warner-led side has a lot of quality in their bowling attack and the inclusion of Rashid Khan, who enjoyed a good IPL debut last night, gives their attack variety. If Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashish Nehra can repeat last year’s heroics, Sunrisers could well be the team to beat this season.

Mumbai Indians narrowly missed the Playoffs last season. With the side that they have, they should look to start strong, something which they didn’t do last season. The form of Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard is crucial to their chances this year. Rohit has been out of action for almost 5 months now owing to an injury, though he featured in two Vijay Hazare games for Mumbai before getting injured again. Pollard, on the other hand, is struggling for runs and could muster just 20 runs in 3 innings in the recently concluded 4-match T20 series against Pakistan. Both of them need to hit the straps early if Mumbai is to go further in the competition. Jasprit Bumrah’s coming of age at the international level will hold them in good stead this season.

Kolkata Knight Riders have the best all-round side in this edition’s IPL. With the presence of Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Woakes, Yusuf Pathan, Colin de Grandhomme and Rishi Dhawan; certainly gives them a lot of options and the much-needed balance to their squad. KKR boasts of a great spin attack as well. Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla and Shakib provide them with all possible variety available. If their batting clicks, KKR will race away to this year’s Playoffs.

Suresh Raina-led Gujarat Lions enjoyed a memorable IPL debut season in 2016. They ended up topping the tables but couldn’t get to the finals as they lost both their qualifying games in the Playoffs. The absence of Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja from the early part of the tournament will hurt them. Their batting, though, is very explosive and can compensate for their thin bowling reserves. Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith and Skipper Suresh Raina himself can tear apart any bowling attack on their day. Gujarat Lions have a fair chance of doing a repeat of 2016.

Predicting in T20 cricket is an otiose exercise but when it comes from someone like Aakash Chopra, we must take it seriously.

Here is the tweet:

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