The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) is fast approaching, and all 8 franchises are in intense training for the cash-rich tournament.
The schedule for this year's IPL was finally revealed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday, and the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) take on the defending champions, the Mumbai Indians (MI), in the season opener.
As always, the new ball will be crucial for teams in IPL 2020. With the dusty UAE pitches likely to get slower as the tournament progresses, batsmen will be keen on making the most of the hard new ball, especially while the field restrictions are still in place.
Ranking the new-ball bowling pairs of all 8 IPL 2020 teams
Most successful IPL teams in the past have had prolific new-ball bowling pairs who have worked well in tandem to scalp early breakthroughs and restrict the flow of runs.
Ahead of IPL 2020, we attempt to predict who the two new-ball bowlers for each time will be, and rank them (from worst to best) in terms of how strong the combination looks.
#8 Rajasthan Royals - Jofra Archer and Ankit Rajpoot
England pacer Jofra Archer has had a decent start to his IPL career, although he hasn't quite delivered from an all-round perspective like he was once expected to. The 25-year-old will be the spearhead of the pace attack in IPL 2020 for RR, and is expected to bowl a couple of overs with the new ball.
RR have a multitude of options who could partner Archer - Jaydev Unadkat, Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye, Tom Curran and Kartik Tyagi. However, the bowler who is most likely to share the new ball is Indian pacer Ankit Rajpoot. The 26-year-old can swing the ball, and showed what he is capable of with a stunning 5-wicket haul against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2018 IPL.
While the Archer-Rajpoot combination is not poor by any means, the other 7 franchises have much more potent new-ball partnerships.