World’s biggest T20 extravaganza, the India Premier League, is set to begin on September 19. IPL was earlier scheduled for March 29 this year, but the tournament was pushed back due to the novel coronavirus.
After a 5-month long wait, India’s cricket festival is finally on. This competition will also be the first cricketing event for India since the South Africa series in March 2020.
Due to rising daily coronavirus cases (about 100,000 per day) in India, the tournament was moved to the United Arab Emirates. (UAE).
The matches will be played in three different emirates, namely Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.
All the franchises have landed in UAE, and preparations are at full pace as there is less than a week left for the tournament to begin. It will be the second occasion where the entire IPL season will be hosted on foreign soil. (2009 in South Africa and 2020 in UAE)
Defending Champions Mumbai Indians will face the previous season runners-up Chennai Super Kings in the much-awaited opener on September 19.
All teams in this season are looking well balanced, and we could expect yet another close competition like the previous season. Although CSK and MI are the favorites every season, however, the IPL is such a competitive tournament that any team can defeat another on a given day.
The pitches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will suit the spinners, and high scoring matches aren’t expected in those emirates. However, Sharjah is one emirate where the ball will come onto the bat well; hence we may see high scoring games in Sharjah.
The domestic Indian players have a more significant role to play as they can play spinners better than most foreign players.
This season will also be the opportunities for youngsters like Yashaswi Jaiswal, Riyan Parag, Tom Banton, Karthik Tyagi, Ravi Bishnoi, Priyam Garg, and many more to showcase their talent in this big platform.
The pressure won’t be as high due to the absence of the crowd, but players will undoubtedly miss their cheering supporters and the festive celebrations.
Delhi Capitals could be the dark horses in this season with a strong Indian core. Delhi, along with Mumbai Indians, seems to have all resources and bases covered in the auction table. It is up to the players to execute the game-plan.
Rajasthan Royals will depend on the big four overseas players, namely Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, and Jofra Archer. They will be the pillars for domestic players to play around them.
Chennai Super Kings will go handicapped with the absence of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh. Therefore we can expect MS Dhoni to perform well after a long break from competitive cricket.
Kolkata Knight Riders have the strongest middle order line-up with explosive Andre Russel, match-winner Eion Morgan, and experienced Dinesh Karthik.
Sunrises Hyderabad and King XI Punjab have the most explosive opening duo of Jonny Bairstow – David Warner (SRH) and KL Rahul – Chirs Gayle (KXIP). They do have the ability to finish the game from the power-play itself.
Experts predict that this season one can expect a new champion. Royal Challengers Bangalore who often start with huge promise every but time disappoint their fans every season. Could this be the year for RCB? We will get to know very soon once the tournament starts.
Credit goes to BCCI, Emirates board, UAE government, and franchises to ensure proper arrangements for the players in such a pandemic situation.
Hopefully, the tournament will run smoothly and safely in the procured bio-bubble.
The world’s toughest league will be the most-watched tournament around the globe in 2020.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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