Franchise-based cricket is comparatively still new when compared to the age-old football, which mainly thrives due its club-based tournaments © BCCI & Getty Images
Franchise-based cricket is comparatively still new when compared to the age-old football, which mainly thrives due its club-based tournaments © BCCI & Getty Images

It has been 10 glorious years for the high-profile Indian Premier League (IPL), which has undoubtedly set the bar and standards high for Twenty20 (T20) cricket. Moreover, speaking on the reason of this immense success of this world-class tournament, the credit must go to the star-studded teams that have played some top notch cricket over the years. Ever since the inception of the tournament in 2008, eight teams have gone on to dominate the tournament. Although a couple of new teams were added and removed as well, it was the original eight teams who have made the most name for themselves and have provided the IPL a face with to be recognised and loved by fans all over the word.

The eight teams which have mostly dominated the tournament till date are Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Delhi Daredevils (DD), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Mumbai Indians (MI), Rajasthan Royals (RR), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). One other team who had made a name for itself in the tournament was Deccan Chargers (DC) from Hyderabad, who won the title back in 2009. The team no longer exists, and since 2013, SRH is the side representing the city.

Franchise-based cricket is comparatively still new when compared to the age-old football, which mainly thrives due its club-based tournaments. How about comparing the IPL franchises to the more global football clubs? Ayush Gupta makes an attempt.

Delhi Daredevils and Newcastle United

Delhi Daredevils (left) - New Castle United © BCCI & Getty Images
Delhi Daredevils (left) – New Castle United © BCCI & Getty Images

One of the oldest sides in the tournament, Delhi Daredevils (DD) were a force to reckon with in the inaugural edition of IPL in 2008, where they managed to reach the semi-final stage of the competition. However, following the season, they have failed to make a serious impact, especially in the recent times. They went on for a team overhaul in the IPL Auction 2011, but still, they have hardly made an impact in the tournament till date as they continue to hunt for their maiden IPL title. They have not even played a final. They usually finish in the bottom half of the table, which could technically prove to be the relegation zone, if compared to the football terminology.

Therefore, comparing Delhi with a football club in the world, the one that comes to mind is the English powerhouse Newcastle United. Although they have been the first division champions, Newcastle have never won the English Premier League (EPL), ever since its inception in 1992. They were one of the powerhouses in the EPL initially, but with the rise in player power of other big sides in the league, Newcastle never really got a chance to become one of the top sides in the EPL. They slowly started fading into the bottom phase of the league table, while they were eventually relegated a couple of times of late, with the latest being during the 2015-16. However, Newcastle have been promoted back to the EPL for the 2017-18 season.

Gujarat Lions and Atlectico Madrid

Gujarat Lions (left) - Atletico Madrid © BCCI & Getty Images
Gujarat Lions (left) – Atletico Madrid © BCCI & Getty Images

Again, one of the newest sides to be playing the tournament, the reason for them being compared to one of the most successful clubs in Spain is a valid one. Considering Gujarat’s performance till date in the IPL, they instantly became one of the powerhouses of the tournament, owing to their fine performance in the league phase, as they finished at the top of the points table. However, they failed to come up with a similar winning performances when it mattered the most. They topped the points table in the league phase but suffered two successive defeats in the playoffs, thereby ruling themselves out of contention for the final.

The same has been the case for Atletico Madrid. Although they have been a powerhouse in the domestic stage, when it comes to La Liga and Copa Del Rey, they have hardly delivered in the European stage, especially in the grandest tournament, the UEFA Champions League. Atletico till date have made three appearances in the final of the Europe’s premier club football league, where they have ended up as the runner’s up on all occasions. They have made a number of appearances in the Champions League till date, but are yet in search for their maiden Champions League glory, which has subdued them till date. With a case similar to that of Gujarat Lions (GL), it makes these two sides a perfect match for each other.

Kings XI Punjab and Arsenal

Kings XI Punjab (left) - Aresnal © BCCI & Getty Images
Kings XI Punjab (left) – Aresnal © BCCI & Getty Images

Quite an interesting choice, isn’t it? Let me explain you why. It is not just their similar uniform colours and the fact that Emirates sponsored the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in its early years. Firstly, KXIP is one of the oldest sides in the IPL since its inception in 2008. They have been a top side with great players from both India and overseas. However, they have not yet clicked when it matters the most, and that is when it comes to winning the title. The main problem with KXIP has been that despite possessing a good form and potential, they tend to mess things up at the crucial moment, thus causing them the misery. Although KXIP were the finalists in the 2014 edition of the IPL, they could not carry their best form and momentum ahead as they crashed to a defeat at the hands of KKR.

The same has been the case for England’s one of the premier football clubs, Arsenal. Aresnal, who last won the EPL title back in 2003-04 have never really managed to click post their era of ‘The Invincibles’. Although their ‘The Invincibles’ era was started under their reigning manager Arsene Wenger, he has failed to repeat his same glorious managerial performance with the club and has been highly inconsistent in the EPL, despite showing signs of positive progress throughout the league. Aresnal are one of the big clubs in England to not have won the UEFA Champions League, the premier club football competition in Europe.

Although they have played the competition almost every season, they have hardly progressed beyond the quarterfinals. Therefore, it is their inconsistency, which makes these two teams a perfect match.

Kolkata Knight Riders and Borussia Dortmund

Kolkata Knight Riders (left) - Borussia Dortmund © BCCI & Getty Images
Kolkata Knight Riders (left) – Borussia Dortmund © BCCI & Getty Images

KKR are two-time IPL champions and are one of the most successful franchises in the cash-rich league. The only two other sides to have won IPL title twice are Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI). As for Kolkata, what makes it a unique side is not just that it is owned by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, but the team has focused on talented young players into the side at a moderate price. Kolkata usually do not rely on enormous star power except for a notable few. What makes them inimitable is their ability to scout for quality young players. The scouting team of Kolkata manages to unearth talent from various parts of the country, throughout the year, and provides the talented youngsters a chance to prove their worth. Players in KKR in the form of Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Sheldon Jackson, Sayan Ghosh and many more are few of such players who are highly talented and have been given a chance by KKR to make a name for themselves by proving their worth in the side. Although Suryakumar and Kuldeep have already made an impact, Jackson and Ghosh too are trying hard to do so. Apart from them, Manish Pandey too flourished well in the side, and is a part of the national side as well.

Therefore, considering Kolkata’s great ability to scout talented players, it can be compared to a football club, which has a similar objective and tends to do so. Borussia Dortmund, the former champions of Germany (Bundesliga), is a side who also rely on scouting immense talent. The players in the club are mostly homegrown and train in their academy, who later play for their senior team, and create huge impact for the side. This was mostly evident three years back during the club’s reign under their former manager Jürgen Klopp, who now continues to do the same for his current club Liverpool.

However, the practice is still evident in Dortmund, as players like Shinji Kagawa, Robert Lewandoski (now plays for Bayern Munich), Mario Götze, Marco Reus and many more are such players who were scouted and home grown to become a quality player for their clubs and nations as well.

In a similar contrast, Manchester United too fit the frame perfectly. However, this aspect has quite faded away in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

Mumbai Indians and Barcelona

Mumbai Indians (left) - Barcelona © BCCI & Getty Images
Mumbai Indians (left) – Barcelona © BCCI & Getty Images

Now that is some comparison. You guys must be wondering what is it that Mumbai Indians (MI) possess that makes them match one of the very best in the world. Well the answer is simple, the Captain’s Power. Mumbai, who are again one of the oldest sides in the competition, and also two-time champions, have the pleasure of having one of the most successful captains of the tournament in the form of local lad Rohit Sharma. Not only Rohit has led well but also he happens to be one of the most successful performers in the tournament.

Along with  KKR’s Gautam Gambhir and CSK’s MS Dhoni, Rohit happens to be the only skipper to have lifted the IPL Trophy twice (2013 and 2015). He also won the tournament as a player in 2009 with the now defunct Deccan Chargers. Apart from this, Rohit has won Champions League T20 in 2011 and 2013. In 2013, he was the captain.

For years, the face of Mumbai Indians has been batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar who sported the famous no. 10. One of greatest ever, Lionel Messi has been the same for Barcelona. The No.10 factor and the connection of both these clubs with maestros is a binding factor.

Now, Rohit has taken over the role and his feats for MI can be compared to Messi.

Messi has certainly been the star of Barcelona, as the credit for most of their wins goes to this man. Messi has single-handedly often led Barcelona to numerous victories, not just in Spain’s La Liga or Copa Del Rey, but also in the UEFA Champions League. His consistent and record-breaking performance for the side has also led to him winning four FIFA Ballon d’Or titles, the most by any footballer till date. Therefore, it is Messi, which comes up with an ideal match for Rohit, therefore making Mumbai a good comparison and match for Barcelona.

In case Real Madrid ever crossed your mind, just stay put. I am reserving it for a side that for some reasons deserves to be compared to the most successful football club in Spain.

Rising Pune Supergiant and New York City FC

Rising Pune Supergiant (left) - New York City FC © BCCI & Getty Images
Rising Pune Supergiant (left) – New York City FC © BCCI & Getty Images

I know, you are curious to know why would I compare such a star-studded IPL side with a low graded Amercian football club. Well, I will give you the reason why. First, let me explain something about RPS. As we all know, RPS are one of the newer sides to be playing the IPL. They were drafted in last season along with Gujarat Lions (GL), as a replacement for suspended franchise CSK and RR. Therefore, following their arrival, the star players from both the sides were shuffled and distributed among these two teams, making them a brand new star-studded side in the tournament. Big players like MS Dhoni, Steven Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin and many more dominate the side. However, they are yet to make a name for themselves in the IPL.

It is the case with New York City FC. The American club is soon becoming one of the newest powerhouses of the sport. Being jointly owned by New York Yankees Baseball team and Manchester City FC, the club has generated enough funds to rope in international and world class players from across the globe.

The club currently has a few, although internationally retired, but top class players in the form of David Villa (Spain), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Maximiliano Moralez (Argentina) among many, who have taken the level of football to a next level, not just for NY City FC, but also in entire America, where football does not really enjoy a huge mass following. This has surely given some recognition to the American Football League, popularly known as the Major Soccer League (MLS). In addition, other teams in the league have started to adapt similar strategy, as they too are now generating enough funds via sponsors to rope in international footballers and grow the standard of the sport in the nation.

Therefore, this very strategy makes RPS a perfect match with NY City FC. What do you think?

Royal Challengers Bangalore and Real Madrid

Royal Challengers Bangalore (left) - Real Madrid © BCCI & Getty Images
Royal Challengers Bangalore (left) – Real Madrid © BCCI & Getty Images

I know this is what you guys were waiting for. As I told you earlier while writing for Mumbai Indians (MI), here it is. Before the Real Madrid fans announce my crucifixion, please read me out.

One of the most popular teams in the IPL with a massive fan following can well be compared to one of the gigantic football club in the word with an equal gigantic fan base. With much ado, let me explain the things here.

As for RCB, the main reason for their immense popularity is their immense star power. With the likes of skipper Virat Kohli, and pinch hitters Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers along with other star power like Shane Watson have only soared RCB’s stature.

Even in the initial days, they had the star power of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh among others.

RCB are a much-famed batting unit, who are popular for their high scoring team totals, and also individual heroics. However, their disadvantage lies on the part that if they rely too much on these star players in their side. Moreover, if couple of them or all of them fail, the entire team falls prey to a defeat or an under-rated performance. They have been a part of three IPL finals, and 1 CLT20 final, winning none.

Real Madrid too possess the same tendency and quality as of RCB. Real too till date have mostly relied on star power. With legendary players like David Beckham, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Michael Owen, Raul, Iker Casillas and many more have dominated the club for quite a period. Currently, big guns like Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez, Marcelo and Fábio Coentrão have dominated the club’s success on most of the occasions.

They are also the record 32-time champions of La Liga and a record 11-time UEFA Champions League winner. However, when the club suffers poor patch, the pressure falls upon the stars and controversies takes precedence over logic. Real aren’t used to losing much.

Therefore, this very superiority of both the teams, make them a perfect match for each other. However, the only logical difference that differentiates both the clubs is that although RCB are yet to win the elusive title, Real are already the most successful football club in the world.

Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chelsea

Sunrisers Hyderabad (left) - Chelsea © BCCI & Getty Images
Sunrisers Hyderabad (left) – Chelsea © BCCI & Getty Images

Another interesting choice! In addition, the reason is as simple as that, the ‘One Time Wonders’. Now before you get confused.. Firstly, for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), they are the defending champions of IPL 2017, which means they won the title last season. Moreover, in case you do not know, it was Sunrisers’ maiden IPL win. SRH have been one of the heavyweights in the IPL ever since its debut in 2013. They also went on to play in the playoffs, where Rajasthan Royals (RR) eliminated them. Following their debut season success, they were dormant for the next couple of years, while they bounced back in the 2016 edition, and they did so in style; as they went on to win their maiden IPL title. They also look promising in the ongoing season. However, the big question is can they retain their title? Owing to their previous record of accomplishment, SRH do tend to get dormant in the following seasons.

Therefore, judging by this very reason and possibly the ‘One Time Wonders’, the perfect team to be compared with, would be England’s Chelsea. Now make no mistake, Chelsea are one of the most dominant clubs in English football, while they are well on course to win their sixth Premier League title. However, when it comes to the grandest stage, that is the UEFA Champions League, Chelsea has failed to live up to the expectations, as they have managed to win the title just once, back in 2011-12. The following season, they were gone dormant again and have since failed to come up with the similar formidable performances at the European stage despite the perfect dominance in England. Consequently, this makes both the sides a perfect match for each other.

Now as we are done comparing the ongoing teams in the IPL, it’s time now for a few other teams, who are not participating in IPL 2017:

Chennai Super Kings and Manchester United

Chennai Super Kings (left) - Manchester United © IANS & Getty Images
Chennai Super Kings (left) – Manchester United © IANS & Getty Images

Well, CSK deserves it. Barring the controversies which draws them parallel to Juventus, CSK in many ways draws parallel to Manchester United. CSK is the former team of India’s most successful captain across formats, MS Dhoni.

CSK has a strong fan base around the globe that only multiplied after their IPL triumphs in 2010 and 2011. CSK are the most successful IPL side. They have appeared in the first eight editions and have finished in the top four in all of them. They have won the IPL Trophy twice and even won CLT20 in 2010 and 2014.

They had star Indian players in Dhoni, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma among others.

Moreover, it was their coach Stephen Fleming, who held the fort for CSK and under whom, CSK have been dominant. Fleming too has been associated with the franchise since inception, first as a player and then a coach. The same has been the case for England’s most successful football club Manchester United. Although prior to them, it was Liverpool who dominated the EPL; United emerged as the top contenders following the appointment of Sir Alex Ferguson as their manger in 1986. Following his 27 years of managerial career at the club, it was under his very management the club went on to become the most successful club in the EPL, surpassing Liverpool’s record of 18 EPL titles, as United now hold the record with 20 EPL titles.

Many legendary players across the globe such as George Best, Sir Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson, Peter Schmeichel, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Rio Ferdinand, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidić, Edwin van der Sar, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Diego Forlan, Sergio Ramos, Wayne Rooney, David de Gea, etc. have played for this club.

Therefore, judging by this quality of both the sides, CSK and MU make a perfect match for each other. Produce maximum quality players under the influence of one single coach. Just for your information, Best and Charlton were already great players in the pre-Ferguson era.

You either love CSK and United or hate them. That is the charm.

Rajasthan Royals and Leicester City

Rajasthan Royals (left) - Leicester City © IANS & Getty Images
Rajasthan Royals (left) – Leicester City © IANS & Getty Images

The champions of the inaugural edition of the IPL certainly deserves something out-of-the-box. In addition, judging by the comparison, I hope you should get a fair idea on why it is being done so. Moreover, in case you do not get it, do not worry, I am here to do all the explaining part.

Firstly, about RR, they were one of the most under-rated sides in the opening edition of the IPL, with hardly any stars except for Shane Warne, who was the coach cum player for the side. He, along with Shane Watson, Graeme Smith were the only settled players in the side, while players like Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja and many more were hardly known names back at that time.

Warne’s leadership and inspiring feats by the relatively lesser-known Indian players helped RR to the title. However, they could hardly make an impact in the following seasons, and slowly faded out as being one of the most dominant sides in the IPL.

It was the case with Leicester City. The English club, who hardly had any big names, were promoted to the EPL from the Championship during the 2014-15 season, where they finished at the 14th spot. Although comparatively good, no one had ever thought that they would go on to lift the EPL title the very next season.  With hardly any big players in the side, it was Wes Morgan, along with Jamie Vardy, who contributed to most of Leicester’s success as one of the most underrated sides in the league went on to win the EPL title.

However, they could hardly do anything next season, as they were ruled out of contention to not just retain the tie, but also failing to qualify for either Champions League or Europa League. Therefore, both these teams are a perfect match for each other.

Just analysing things further for CSK and RR, the franchises could also be compared to Italian giants Juventus, who faced a similar situation of being suspended and were forcefully relegated to Serie B following a scandal in Italian football. However, they were strong enough to bounce back to Serie A the very next season and again went on to dominate as the most successful club in Italy, having won 32 Serie A titles till date, the most by any football club in the world. The reason for this comparison is that both CSK and RR are scheduled to make their return to IPL from 2018 season, following their two-year suspension, owing to corruption charges against the franchises.