After its initial postponement back in April due to COVID-19, the Indian Premier League starts back on Saturday.
The tournament has been moved to the UAE as India still struggles to come to terms with the pandemic. We’ve previewed all the eight teams below and rated what their chances are this year.
The most consistent side in the history of the IPL. They have made it to the playoffs in every year that they’ve taken part.
They’ve lost two big names this year in Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina, but they do still have the greatest finisher in T20 cricket – MS Dhoni.
I would worry that they are still depending on players with a lot of years on the clock. Shane Watson, Imran Tahir and MS Dhoni have a combined age of 119 and will be expected to play most, if not all games.
They are also very reliant on spin bowlers with Tahir, Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja.
Prediction – Playoffs again but won’t make the final dance.
In the last decade, Dehli have only made the playoffs twice and have finished bottom on four different occasions.
They probably have the best core of Indian players across all of the franchises, with Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer having all played for India at the top level.
They’ve also added Ajinkya Rahane and Ravi Ashwin to the squad this year and they look like shrewd signings. Their biggest weakness is their overseas players, with Kagiso Rabada and Sandeep Lamichhane the best of a poor bunch.
They’ll be a tough team to beat but are very dependent on their top-heavy batting attack.
Prediction – Will be knocking on the door, but just miss out on the playoffs.
With only two playoff appearances in the last 2 attempts, it’s not hard to wonder why the Kings don’t exude confidence. However, on paper this is a strong team.
In KL Rahul, they arguably have the best T20 batsman in India. He’s been promoted to captain this year after Ravi Ashwin departed for Delhi.
Then there is the Chris Gayle factor. He’s not the Universal Boss for nothing. However, fitness and many years on the clock may find him out.
— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) September 16, 2020
Their bowling has improved with Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell and Chris Jordan included but they lack a world-class spinner, and this could cost them.
Prediction – They’ll win some games and surprise a few, but ultimately they’ll be fighting it out for the wooden spoon.
One word has dogged KKR for years now – inconsistency. They’ve talent all over the park, but every year they find themselves snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Having Eoin Morgan for the full tournament this time will be a big help and with Chris Lynn now gone, they’ll look to Sunil Narine to open the innings like he did for Trinbago in the CPL this year.
In Narine and Kuldeep Yadav they’ve two of the best spinners in T20 cricket. Ali Khan looks a shrewd signing too while Andre Russell will be the X-Factor for them so keeping him fit will be the key.
Prediction – All comes down to Narine and Russell. Fully fit and they make the playoffs. Injuries will see them miss out.
The reigning champions and, for want of a better phrase, the “Manchester United” of Indian Cricket. The most successful side in the IPL and it’s not hard to understand why when you look at the team.
Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya are all household names in India. Add to this the overseas talent of Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard and Trent Boult and you have a formidable line-up.
They have the power at the top of the order, and Hardik and Pollard are expert finishers at the death. Bumrah and Boult give them excellent bowling options too.
Prediction – Having World Class players at the top and the bottom of the order will make all the difference. Winners.
It’s been 12 years since Rajasthan won their one and only IPL title. They went with an interesting strategy this year, signing up the best of the Indian U19 players who lost the World Cup final this year.
They’ll miss the all-round ability of Ben Stokes, who looks unlikely to feature. They do have Jos Buttler, however, who has shown to be world-class batsman at the top of the order and they are captained by Steve Smith, who will be vital if they are to do well.
For the bowling, they look strong with Joffra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat and Shreyas Gopal who was brilliant last season.
Prediction – They’ll struggle in the extreme conditions with not enough experience in the squad. Last place.
If Cricket teams were like school reports, RCB’s would say “Could try better” but it’s not for want of having talented players.
They have the great Virat Kohli as captain. After finishing bottom twice in the last 3 years, they have rebuilt, and maybe, just maybe they have found the right formula.
In AB de Villiers they have a top-class batsman to compliment Kohli. They are better in the spin department this year with Yuzvendra Chahal and Adam Zampa helped by Moeen Ali but they still lack that finisher down the order and that could end up costing them a shot at the playoffs.
Prediction – They’ll be better this year, but will come up short again. Miss the playoffs.
I’ve tipped them up to win this for the last two years, and it’s not hard to understand why.
In David Warner, they have the best opener in T20 cricket. He was Top Tournament Runscorer last year.
They also have Jonny Bairstow and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. They’ve got the Spin King Rashid Khan, and his spin twin Mohammad Nabi, and finally, they have Bhuvneswar Kumar. So where does it go wrong?
Kumar didn’t fire last year, and other bowlers had to pick up the slack. They do lack strength in the middle order and this will be a factor too.
Prediction – They’ll make the playoffs but will find someone too good for them in the knockouts.
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