The biggest domestic tournament in the cricket world is back with the 2020 Indian Premier League getting under way Saturday night (midnight) Australian time. A global pandemic postponed the IPL before the venue was changed from the packed grounds of India to the closed-doors environment of the UAE. Despite that, the fever of the tournament hasn’t dwindled. In fact, a cricket-deprived world will tune in with renewed vigour.
Right, let’s dive right into the intricacies of this tournament starting with the teams. An auction in December switched, removed and spread players across the board. Most teams have retained the core group of players, which is an undeniable strength of defending champions Mumbai Indians. An once again, there will be plenty of Australian players involved.
Let's take a closer look at the chances of each team with our 2020 IPL season preview and cricket betting tips!
Again, they will start off as favourites to win the IPL outright, despite the change in conditions. They have added Chris Lynn to one of the most powerful top orders in the league. Even though Lasith Malinga is unavailable for this tournament, their death-bowling core is quite strong with Jasprit Bumrah in there.
Where they might finish? Top two.
Chennai Super Kings
Next comes the recently-retired MS Dhoni’s highly-successful Chennai Super Kings team. From a pure tactical perspective, the change in venue will suit them the most. They packed their team with slower bowlers, aware of the slow and sluggish conditions of the pitch back in Chennai. Suresh Raina’s absence will hurt them significantly, especially as a key cog at No. 3, but there are plenty of international stars waiting to replace him.
Coach Stephen Fleming put it aptly when he said, "There are a lot of skillful players that make the side, but there are also a lot of skillful players that don't. Picking the right side for the right conditions is one of the great challenges and we've got a good record at that.”
Where they might finish? Top four.
Compared to the success of Mumbai and Chennai, any other team is an outsider to win this competition. However, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders are armed with refreshed rosters to change that status quo.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB added Aaron Finch and Chris Morris in the auction, which will shore up their top-order batting and death-overs bowling respectively. "We've got a great balance of experience, the skill required for T20 cricket and the youngsters in the team who are eager to take up the responsibility and look forward to opportunities that we're going to provide them," Virat Kohli told RCB TV. They will continue to rely on Kohli and AB de Villiers to win them matches though. Do they have enough bowling depth to challenge? Yes. Do they have enough to win outright? My guess would be no.
Where they might finish? Third or fourth.
Sunrisers have, for a while now, been a horses-for-courses team, moving players in and out based on the widely-differing conditions between grounds in India. Four players that will be extremely productive are their overseas stars in David Warner, Kane Williamson, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan. That’s also a problem because their Indian talent is a bit short, at least from a match-winning potential standpoint.
Where they might finish? Outside the top four.
Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals
Both these teams seem quite even on paper. Both these teams have match-winners right through their rosters. KKR have the G.O.A.T of T20s in Andre Russell, while Delhi have the exuberance of a young attacking core of players. Bowling wise, they could match up against any team in the IPL, irrespective of conditions.
Where they might finish? Either just in or just outside the playoffs.
Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals
If I had to pick two teams not to qualify for the playoffs, it would be these two. There is a heavy reliance on too few players in between these two teams. A few players can win you matches, but not tournaments. With all due respect to two quality teams, there just doesn’t seem enough room in the playoffs if there is no consistency.
The next market I like is the top batsman market. Arguably the best all-format player in the last few years has been Virat Kohli. But that’s an easy prediction to make based on just that alone. However, there are a few other factors at play too. Here they are:
* He bats at the top, very often as an opener for RCB. That will be a key factor in the UAE with sluggish pitches. That is because as the game progresses, it will get gradually harder to bat on. Batsmen facing the newer, harder ball have the best of conditions to capitalize on.
* While he is the anchor for RCB, he can also accelerate freely and effectively. He has shown a natural ability to score T20 hundreds at will in the IPL for RCB. One hundred will put him ahead of the rest.
* RCB need him desperately. RCB haven’t won an IPL trophy yet. He will have to lead by example, and score runs. When he scores a lot of runs, RCB eventually succeed, as was the case in 2016 when RCB made the final.
Here are some other markets that you could consider and picks for them:
Player of the tournament: KL Rahul ($13.00)
Top bowler: Jasprit Bumrah ($10.00)
To reach the final: Mumbai Indians Yes: $2.75
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