After play was suspended back in May, IPL 14 finally resumes this Sunday night, with the remainder of the season set to take place in the United Arab Emirates. We run you through what has happened in the season so far as well as make our predictions for the rest of the tournament below.
Last year’s runner up, the Delhi Capitals, led by Test star Rishabh Pant, were hot through the opening part of the season, winning six of their opening eight games to move to the top of the table. Alongside them at the top are some familiar names in the likes of the Chennai Super Kings, led by M.S. Dhoni, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by Virat Kohli and the reigning IPL Champion Mumbai Indians.
They are arguably the four most lucrative teams in the IPL, so it’s no surprise to see them at the top of the table going into the resumption of the season in the U.A.E.
Shikhar Dhawan of the Delhi Capitals has had a fantastic start to the year, plundering a league best 380 runs from 8 innings at an average of 54.28 to currently hold the orange cap. Closely behind are the likes of K.L. Rahul, Faf du Plessis and Prithvi Shaw.
On the bowling front, it’s medium pacer Harshal Patel that leads the wicket-takers with a whopping 17 in just 7 games with an impressive average of 14.70. Avesh Khan and Chris Morris are the next best with 14 wickets apiece.
It’s rare that we would give future betting picks for a tournament, halfway through said event, but this unique situation gives us a chance to reflect on the season so far in the IPL and use that to our advantage when attempting to select a potential winner.
A couple of teams have been absolutely decimated by the season restart, with many of their best player being unavailable to take part in the rest of the tournament in the UAE. Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers is one of those teams. Kohli will lose the services of Adam Zampa, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson and Washington Sundar for the rest of the season, but looking at his team on paper, he still has more than enough talent to win with the likes of Glenn Maxwell, A.B. de Villiers, Kyle Jamieson and Mohammed Siraj flanking the Indian captain.
Arguably the only team that can say they improved with the mid-season reshuffling of teams is the Chennai Super Kings. They lost Australian paceman Jason Behrendorff for the trip to the UAE, but replaced him with an upgraded Aussie quick in Josh Hazlewood. There’s no doubt that M.S. Dhoni will be thrilled with the addition of one of the best pace bowlers in the world, who will pair nicely with an already stacked bowling unit that inlcudes Ravi Jadeja, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir and Dwayne Bravo.
At the moment, on paper, the Kings look to have the best outfit. Their problem will be deciding which four of their star studded international contingent to play in each match. They have seven quality non-Indian players, all of whom have represented their country at T20 level, so finding the right balance will be key.
It’s a fantastic problem to have for Dhoni come selection time, and given they restart the season just two points behind the Delhi Capitals with an extra game in hand, they are my best bet to take out the IPL trophy for a fourth time.
While they didn’t lose a lot of names in the reshuffling of the squads for the UAE, the Kolkata Knight Riders lost arguably the biggest name of all. Their lynchpin, Pat Cummins, will be unavailable for the remainder of the T20 season after opting out back in late August to give himself time to prepare for a gruelling T20 World Cup and Ashes campaign.
Without Cummins, the Knight Riders team is looking really thin, particularly when it comes to international star power. They restart the season just two points off the bottom of the table, so the $3.75 on offer for them to win the wooden spoon looks value in my eyes.
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