The Indian Premier League is by far the most star-studded T20 league in the world. Every year, all 8 teams face each other twice, and the top 4 teams qualify to the playoff stages. Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are the most successful teams in the history of the IPL as they have won a combined total of 7 trophies so far. On the other hand, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab, and Royal Challengers Bangalore are yet to experience the sweet taste of IPL triumph.
During the build-up to every season, certain teams standout on paper and are touted as favourites to win the IPL. Meanwhile, there have also been teams that have over-performed and silenced their doubters over the years. Hence, no one in the world can correctly predict the outcome of the IPL, but it is a fun exercise nonetheless.
With that being said, this article is to showcase how I think the IPL 2020 will pan out.
8. Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals have been heavily reliant on their overseas players over the last few years. Captain Steve Smith and the English trio of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and Jofra Archer will be arriving late to the camp, and that might mess with the camaraderie within the players. Andrew Tye, who won the purple cap in 2018 for Kings XI Punjab, is also on the list of players arriving late.
After the departure of their talisman Ajinkya Rahane and senior bowler Dhawal Kulkarni, Rajasthan Royals’ Indian group of players lack quality and depth. Moreover, as they will miss the aforementioned overseas players’ services for the first few games, they will struggle to find a way back into the playoff positions.
7. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Every season for the Royal Challengers Bangalore begins with excitement and belief, but by the end of the league stage, it also ends with disappointment. RCB have always possessed some of the most fearsome top-order batsmen in the form of Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, but their bowlers leak too many runs, and their lower middle order is incapable of chasing high totals.
IPL journeyman Aaron Finch is a valuable addition to the top order, but the Australian opener will be out for the first game. Moeen Ali, who had a good 2019 campaign, will also be unavailable for the first week due to the England vs Australia series. Their pace attack lacks bite, and they will be relying on a 37-year-old Dale Steyn to pick up wickets at the death.
6. Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders haven’t challenged for the title after winning their 2nd IPL crown in 2014. The team’s management decided not to retain Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa, which makes their top order void of any proven IPL pedigree. Just like their batting, their bowling also lacks experience with Prasidh Krishna and Shivam Mavi looking to be the go-to Indian pace bowlers.
New arrivals Pat Cummins and Eoin Morgan are a part of the players arriving late and might miss the first game. KKR chose Tom Banton as a potential replacement for Chris Lynn. There has been a lot of hype around the young Englishman with David Hussey claiming he is a “better version of Kevin Pietersen”, but it will be interesting to see if he can live up to the tag.
5. Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab made some quality acquisitions in the auction which took place last year. They added Glenn Maxwell to their squad who was the Player of the Tournament in the 2014 IPL edition as KXIP came runners up. In 2014, the first half of the tournament was played in the UAE and thanks to Maxwell; the Preity Zinta-owned side won all its matches in the gulf country.
KL Rahul was their star performer in 2019 and will be leading the side this time around. They have strengthened their bowling department by signing Jamaican pacer Sheldon Cottrell. A lot will depend on their top-order batsman to score high scores as their Indian bowling department barring Mohammad Shami does not possess the required ingredients to defend low totals.
4. Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings have never failed to qualify for the playoffs in the history of the franchise. IPL legends Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh are set to miss this year’s tournament due to personal reasons. Their squad has enough depth to replace Raina and Bhajji, but their place in the playoff positions is not guaranteed to say the least.
With Sam Curran, they have an able deputy to Dwayne Bravo. Kedar Jadhav replaces Suresh Raina, and Piyush Chawla takes the place of Harbhajan Singh in the possible line up. As the core of the team keeps getting older, they will find it challenging this year, but due to their experience and MS Dhoni’s exceptional captaincy skills, they should make it to the playoffs.
3. Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad possesses two great strengths and one colossal weakness. Their top-order consists of David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey. With Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, they are well equipped in the bowling department as well, but their lower middle order leaves a lot to desire after the loss of Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan.
David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, who formed a deadly partnership in the 2019 edition will be expected to give the team a good start in the first 6 overs. If SRH are to provide a severe challenge for the trophy, youngsters like Abhishek Sharma and Virat Singh will have to come to the fore in the lower middle order. A lot will be dependent on Vijay Shankar’s form as well.
2. Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians come into this year’s tournament as not only the reigning IPL champions but also as the most successful IPL team with 4 trophies to their credit. Their squad looks almost perfect with options in every department. Lasith Malinga’s unavailability might be a bit of a blow, but they have suitable replacements in the form of McClenaghan, Coulter-Nile and Pattinson.
If I had to pick one weakness in this team, it would be their lack of world-class spinners, but as Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar performed very well last season, that shouldn’t be a huge problem. Mumbai Indians is the only team not to suffer as all their players will be available for selection since the start of the tournament because Nathan Coulter Nile hasn’t been picked in the Australian squad.
1. Delhi Capitals
Delhi Capitals are the only team never to take part in an IPL final. They have also been handed the wooden spoon on multiple occasions as the Feroz Shah Kotla-based outfit has finished bottom a record four times. Their squad looks the strongest on paper at the moment as they have the right mix of youth and experience. Their Indian unit is so strong that they could take the field with 8 Indian players if they want.
Jason Roy, Alex Carrey and Marcus Stoinis are all part of the English and Australian squads respectively but their late arrival shouldn’t put the team in a spot of bother as they have many replacements. With Ajinkya Rahane and Ravi Ashwin, they have added loads of experience, something they lacked in previous seasons. After being a part of the chasing pack for so many years, this could finally be the year when Delhi Capitals break the deadlock.
And, to know what we think are the best possible XIs for the IPL 2020 teams, jump on to the below boxed-link.