This year’s Indian Premier League will certainly be an unprecedented one as teams adjust to the demands of the pandemic, and players work their way back into competitive shape. In a repeat of last year’s epic final, whereby the Mumbai Indians defeated the Chennai Super Kings by one run, the teams open up this year’s IPL on 19 September in Abu Dhabi.
The Indians, captained by Rohit Sharma, have kept their title-winning side largely unchanged, with key retentions including the Pandya brothers, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, and Quinton de Kock. Of the six purchases they made in the auction, Australia international Nathan Coulter-Nile is the most notable.
Conversely, the Super Kings retained most players from last year, with the additions of Piyush Chawla, Josh Hazlewood, and Sam Curran completing an already powerful roster led by MS Dhoni. Both of these teams would expect to challenge for the title once again given the pedigree within their squads.
Shreyas Iyer will continue to lead a side packed full of powerful ball-strikers
The Delhi Capitals will look to build on their third-place finish last year and have made key acquisitions to go along with the team’s core Indian contingent. Shreyas Iyer will continue to lead a side packed full of powerful ball-strikers across its line-up.
Of the teams who finished in the bottom half of the table last year, the Rajasthan Royals would be my dark horse pick to protrude into a playoff place, as they boast one of the most impressive squads in the competition.
Spearheaded by Steve Smith and the English World Cup-winning trio Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Jofra Archer, the Royals have the potential to truly challenge any team on any given day. In a similar sentiment, the Sunrisers Hyderabad also boast a well-balanced side.
It would be remiss to suggest that AB de Villiers would have something to prove given his illustrious career. However, on the back of a relatively quiet last few seasons, he will be raring to prove that he still remains one of the premier white-ball cricketers, even in the twilight of his career.
Finally, below is a prediction of the league standings for the playoff places, in what should be a very exciting edition of the IPL:
- Chennai Super Kings
- Mumbai Indians
- Sunrisers Hyderabad
- Delhi Capitals
- Rajasthan Royals
- Kolkata Knight Riders
- Kings XI Punjab
- Royal Challengers Bangalore