Indian Premier League (IPL), the biggest franchise cricket tournament is all set to begin. With all the initial halt, preparations, trainings, players’ arrival, all teams have gotten enough time to prepare themselves after a long break from cricket and we are all set for four-time champions Mumbai Indians vs three times champions Chennai Super Kings for the opener on September 19 in Abu Dhabi.
England & Australian players reached UAE
After the conclusion of the limited-overs ODI series between England and Australia, which Australia won with a thrilling chase in the final ODI to take the series, the contingent of 21 Australian and England players have landed in UAE on Thursday late evening via a chartered flight from England.
Steve Smith and David Warner are the captains of Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively.
Which team looks the most dominant?
Defending champions Mumbai Indians looks the most formidable team of all the teams. With Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock set to open the batting innings, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult are also ready to open the bowling innings.
Despite Lasith Malinga missing the entire season, MI looks well balanced and the most dominant and destructive side with the likes of Kieron Pollard
Will Virat Kohli and co be able to turn fortunes for RCB?
Royal Challengers Bangalore have played in three IPL finals and they have lost all three. Their performances have been on and off over the seasons, performing in one season and all the way down in the other season.
This year, Virat Kohli has said that it is the most balanced side since 2016. The franchise released Chris Gayle in 2018 and 0since then the team hasn’t performed well. In 2016, RCB finished 2nd losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final, 8th in 2017, 6th in 2018, and again last in last season. Despite big names like previously, the team hasn’t fared better. However, with big names again in the squad, the team is expected to perform better. With the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, Dale Steyn, Adam Zampa, RCB has the ability to reach the playoff stage and win go till the very end.
Will Raina-Harbhajan less CSK make impact?
MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina hasn’t played IPL together for the 2016 & 2017 when former played for Rising Pune Supergiant and later played for Gujarat Lions. This year CSK will be heading to the event without the services of Raina and Harbhajan Singh. Both have withdrawn from the tournament for personal reasons.
Although CSK has plenty of powerhouse and power hitters in the team but considering Raina and Singh to be in playing XI, it will be difficult to replace both with local talent. However, Dhoni is known to have performed well with whatever options he has and we hope that he’ll be able to deliver this season as well.
Who’s there to end its trophy drought?
Among the teams, Mumbai Indians (4), Chennai Super Kings (3), Kolkata Knight Riders (2), Rajasthan Royals (1), and Sunrisers Hyderabad (1) have previously won the title. The remaining three teams, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab, and Delhi Capitals haven’t won the IPL trophy though RCB and KXIP and previously been in the finals but ended up on the losing side.
A strong Mumbai Indians squad and tactical Chennai Super Kings leave fewer options for other teams to go till the very end but considering the fact the IPL is being played in UAE, all teams will have equal opportunities with no home-away advantage. It will be important to use spin-factor as it will be huge this season since the tracks in UAE are more spin-friendly.
Will Rajasthan Royals have the services of Ben Stokes?
Ben Stokes left to New Zealand in the middle of the Test series against Pakistan to his ailing father and since then it is not known that whether he will be part of IPL or not. It is confirmed that he’ll be missing the first half of the tournament but his availability is still not clear.
Rajasthan Royals, considering the status of the all-rounder, will definitely miss him but they have plenty of firepower in their squad that includes Steve Smith, David Miller, Jos Buttler, Andrew Tye, Jofra Archer, Tom Curran.
The matches will be played at three venues:
- Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
- Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
- Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Dubai will host a total of 24 matches, Abu Dhabi 20 matches, Sharjah 12 matches.
When the match will start?
The night matches will begin at 6 pm UAE time and 7.30 pm India Standard Time.