The 13th edition of the IPL is nearly with us, finally!
James Buttler has been assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the of each of the eight IPL franchises ahead of the tournament’s first game on 19 September. His task is to find the best value bets throughout the biggest domestic cricket tournament in the world. Check out his individual team previews below:
- Chennai Super Kings Preview here
- Delhi Capitals Preview here
- Kings XI Punjab Preview here
- Kolkata Knight Riders Preview here
- Mumbai Indians Preview here
- Rajasthan Royals Preview here
- Royal Challengers Bangalore Preview here
- Sunrisers Hyderabad Preview here
Originally scheduled to commence on 29 March, then delayed until 15 April as the global Covid-19 pandemic halted sport across the globe, the IPL has been shifted to the United Arab Emirates between 19 September and 10 November.
Mumbai Indians are the defending champions after beating CSK on the final ball of the IPL 2019 final to secure their fourth title.
DOES PLAYING IN THE UAE CHANGE THINGS?
Absolutely. The teams have bought their players at the last IPL Auction with their own home tracks in India at the forefront of their minds. The pitches in the UAE are not massively different, but with all matches played in the grounds at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi the pitches will wear. Spin is likely to become an increasing threat as the IPL 2020 progresses.
WHICH TEAM LIFTS THE TROPHY?
If you have read the individual team previews you will have seen that I asked three IPL expert pundits to give each of the eight franchises a score out of 10 to reflect their likelihood of winning IPL 2020. Our combined scores and order:
- Chennai Super Kings 82%
2= Mumbai Indians 75%
2= Royal Challengers Bangalore 75%
4 Delhi Capitals 72%
5 Sunrisers Hyderabad 63%
6 Kolkata Knight Riders 62%
7 Rajasthan Royals 52%
8 Kings XI Punjab 50%
In my opinion, anyone of the top five teams can win this Indian Premier League but I’m struggling to see Mumbai Indians defending their title for two reasons. Mumbai have assembled a squad for Indian surfaces and, more than any other side, they have limited spin options. That could hurt them. Also, Mumbai has a history of following a tournament success with a relative failure. They have never finished higher than fourth in the three previous seasons they have played after lifting the trophy.
CSK is a strong choice and is a strong bet to lift the trophy but two other sides appeal at larger prices.
Delhi Capitals have an excellent you captain in Shreyas Iyer and a top coach in former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting. Rishabh Pant and Kagiso Rabada are two of the best young talents on show in the UAE and the Capitals have a strong spin contingent. They can definitely improve on their third-place finish last year.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have never won the IPL trophy and Virat Kohli has a much more balanced looking squad to put that right. They have serious firepower up top, one of the best spin departments in the tournament and better quicks. It could finally be Virat’s year. I’m on RCB.
TOP TOURNAMENT BATSMAN
There are two standout candidates in this market. Three-time Orange Cap winner David Warner is a strong betting play, as is RCB’s Virat Kohli. I can’t put you off either man, but I’m seeking more betting value further down the list with two great options at far bigger prices.
With both Delhi Capitals and RCB likely to challenge for the playoffs, I expect Nitish Rana (DC) and Aaron Finch (RCB) to enjoy strong tournaments. Both have tournament pedigree and take my money.
TOP TOURNAMENT BOWLER
Spinners are the play in this market this season and three twirlers stand out in the markets. The favourite is Rashid Khan (SRH) and he is there for a reason. Imran Tahir (SRH) is a terrific spinner in T20 cricket and his wicket celebrations brighten up any competition he plays in. And finally, R Ashwin has moved to Delhi Capitals and could really shine for them this season.
NAME THE FINALISTS
I know I have listed CSK and Mumbai Indians as the top two teams above, but I really like any combination of CSK, RCB and DC to be in the final on 10 November. I think CSK with be there so take CSK vs DC and CSK vs Bangalore at healthy prices.
5 units on Nitish Rana (KKR) to be Top IPL 2020 Run Scorer
10 units on Aaron Finch (RCB) to be Top IPL 2020 Run Scorer
10 units on Rashid Khan (SRH) to be Top IPL 2020 Wicket Taker
10 units on Imran Tahir (RCB) to be Top IPL 2020 Wicket Taker
5 units on R Ashwin (DC) to be Top IPL 2020 Wicket Taker
5 units on IPL Final as CSK vs RCB
5 units on IPL Final as CSK vs DC
20 units on CSK to win IPL 2020
20 units on RCB to win IPL 2020