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IPL 2019 - The T20 Carnival is about to begin

ANALYST
Feature
519   //    17 Mar 2019, 15:09 IST

The 12th season of the IPL is about to start and the fans are ready for the carnival
The 12th season of the IPL is about to start and the fans are ready for the carnival

It’s that time of the year when the temperature starts rising in India. Time has come for the biggest T20 league – The Indian Premier League. IPL is one of the greatest things which has happened to Indian cricket. It has been instrumental in bringing new fans into the game.

Not only that but also there are so many skilled players who get an opportunity to showcase their talent and as a result go on to represent India. This will be the 12th season of the IPL and still, the level of excitement hasn't dropped down. There is always a buzz around the IPL. In fact, the numbers show that online viewership is increasing exponentially year after year. Once again this year we will see the grounds filling, crowds going crazy for their teams and much more. Let’s have a look at what’s in store for the T20 carnival which is about to begin.

The finalists from the last season are strong contenders once again
The finalists from the last season are strong contenders once again

Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the two teams which played the finals last year are the ones with the least number of changes. Both have just two new additions into their teams. SRH has bought in Bairstow and Guptill as two reserve openers whereas CSK bought back it's ex-bowler Mohit Sharma.

With more or less the same players, should we expect the same performance? Not really. It’s quite difficult to maintain the consistency in the shortest format for two consecutive years. It wouldn’t be surprising if one of these teams struggle to make the playoffs this year. Having said that, they will remain as one of the top contenders to lift the trophy.

Focusing on the three teams who haven’t won the IPL even a single time, let’s begin with the team which has changed its name. Delhi Daredevils has changed its name to Delhi Capitals keeping hopes for changing its fate. Looking at their team this year it is possible that they might bring a difference into the game.

DC have gone with a different approach in accordance to the Top 4 batsmen being Indian and by filling their bowling with the overseas stars. This is an interesting approach to watch out for this season. Axar Patel and Colin Ingram are the two new players who will be a part of the DC squad this year. These two could prove vital in deciding DC’s fate.

RCB and DC will be looking to win their first IPL trophy
RCB and DC will be looking to win their first IPL trophy

Moving onto the team with a huge fan base, RCB have added some firepower in the middle-order with Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube and Marcus Stoinis. RCB have a similar bowling attack compared to last year but the fact that Nathan Coulter Nile will be available is a huge plus for them. Their team balance looks good and there’s a high chance for them to make the Top 4 this year. RCB fans will be hoping that "Ee Sala Cup Namde" comes true this year.    

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KXIP have done a slight revamp to its squad. There are many exciting new players like Varun Chakravarthy, Sam Curran, Nicholas Pooran and PrabhSimran Singh. Punjab have spent loads of money on these players and it would be interesting to see how many of them get to play regularly this season.

Just like last year, their middle-order seems to lack firepower. Rahul and Gayle at the top form a formidable pair. Their spin department is packed with Ashwin, Mujeeb, and Varun. Looking at Shami’s current form, his addition in their pace attack is a good thing. They might need to fight hard to get into the playoffs this year.

RR and KKR made the playoffs last year and will be looking to repeat the feat
RR and KKR made the playoffs last year and will be looking to repeat the feat

The inaugural IPL champion – Rajasthan Royals will miss some of their key overseas players in the latter half of the season. Smith, Stokes, Butler, and Archer (if selected) will be called up for national duties.

You can’t get a like for like replacement for these players and it will be a tough task for RR once these players leave. If you look at their batting line-up it looks a bit one-dimensional. Apart from Butler and Stokes, all the batsmen have the touch game rather than having the power game. There is inexperience in the spin department but they performed well last year so we can expect them to do well once again. In 2018, they somehow sneaked into the Top 4, but this time they might find it difficult.

The two-time champion KKR has retained most of its first XI from the previous year. Lynn and Narine will once again reunite at the top to demolish bowling attacks. They have a strong Indian middle-order with the explosive Andre Russell as the finisher. Their spin department is equipped with three good spinners. The options in their pace attack somehow look quite similar. Most of their pacers bowl quick, close to the 150 mark. They don’t have many pacers with the T20 variations. They have enough talent in their squad, so you can't write them off for a playoff spot.

Will the Mumbai Indians trend continue in 2019?
Will the Mumbai Indians trend continue in 2019?

The team remaining is the one that won the IPL in 2013, 2015, and 2017. So can they win it again in 2019? Mumbai Indians will be hoping that the trend continues and they win the IPL for the fourth time in seven years.

As always they have most of the bases covered. It seems that they have too many options at the top, that some might as well not be used. Bumrah and Behrendorff can form a good bowling pair. They have a lot of all-rounders in their squad and should look to use them to full potential. They have what it takes to win the IPL, but can they do it for the fourth time?

To be honest the most difficult part of previewing the IPL is predicting the winner. The available talent pool is almost divided equally amongst the eight teams, so there is a lot of unpredictability in the tournament. On their day, any team has the potential of defeating the other. That’s the best thing about the tournament. Before the start of the season, all teams have an equal chance of winning the trophy. The story is not different this year, so let’s enjoy the season and find out the winner at the end of it!

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