IPL 2021: The Worlds All-Star Cricket Competition Begins
The eyes of the cricketing world are firmly fixed on India this week, as the nation’s premier sporting franchise kicks off for another domestic season. Amidst the backdrop of COVID, many suspected there would be some delay to the scheduled kick-off event, but this hasn’t been the case and the organizers are keen to show that the league is coming back stronger and more glamorous than ever.
It will be the 14th edition of the world’s richest cricket tournament and global cricket fans are likely to tune in in their millions from across the world as the action begins this Friday. Top players from all over the cricketing world are going to be involved throughout the opening weekend, with Ben Stokes and Virat Kohli two of the biggest stars touted to be making an appearance.
This year will be the first time the IPL returns to India since the start of the pandemic. During last year’s interrupted season, many of the matches were played in the United Arab Emirates as the infection rates and infrastructure were far better suited for the logistical demands of the T20 series.
At the beginning of the game schedule this year, the games will be played behind closed doors. It will certainly take some of the excitement out of the matches, which are notoriously played in a party-like atmosphere with huge Indian crowds, loud music, and bright lights. But despite these shortcomings, there is still plenty to look forward to as a fan of the IPL this summer.
The format looks relatively unchanged, there will be six cities hosting the majority of the cricket, and the games are being played in neutral venues to avoid any logistical problems. Each squad can recruit up to eight international players, but only four are allowed to be fielded in the starting XI at any one time.
How Are the Mumbia Indians Shaping Up?
One of the clear favorites going into the 14th edition of the IPL is the five-time winners of the league, the Mumbai Indians. Having recently picked up a new offspinner, Piyush Chiwala, the team has completely redefined their bowling attack, and looks to be a real problem for other title hopefuls this year.
In the batting department, they look formidable too, with the likes of Kieron Pollard and big-hitting Indian pair, Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya fans can expect some big scorelines with the games being played by these teams. Solidifying their lineup with a few young recruits will be the only additional changes that fans can expect to see.
Off the field, the Mumbai Indians continue to demonstrate their class and access to the best resources in the game. With legendary coaching staff on their payroll, including the former Sri Lanka player and national hero, Mahela Jayawardene comes in as head coach. Also, leading the batting training and mentorship at the club is one of the games most gifted batsman ever, none other than Sachin Tendulkar.
One team that will be vying to knock the Mumbai Indians off their throne is the Dehli Capitals, a team that narrowly missed out on glory in the previous year. The Capitals are still in search of their first trophy as a franchise, but after picking up a new captain in the pre-season trading in Rishabh Pant, the side has a renewed sense of urgency about their mission.
Two Dark Horses in the New Campaign
The Rajastan Royals must be feeling pretty confident going into this new T20 series, they are in possession of the two big England hitters Ben Stokes and Jos Butler. With those two at the helm, there are no limits to their batting attack. Although in recent years the team has struggled to establish itself as a dominant force. After winning the inaugural IPL series back in 2008, they have finished bottom of the table in 2020 in a huge turn in fortunes.
In the bowling department, the Rajastan Royals look very well prepared. They take South African seamer Chris Morris into the series, who has enjoyed a ferocious start to his cricketing career in the league. Also sitting on the bench ready to join the attack is Jofra Archer, the English speed merchant has been slightly injured as of late but is expected to make a big recovery into the later stages of this season.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore are desperately searching for their first win of the tournament. Having never lifted an IPL trophy, it’s certainly not a surprise that they are pursuing some serious talent this year to bolster their ranks. With a high-speed bowling attack, and clinical spinners to mix up the rhythm, this is certainly a team to pay close attention to.
All in all, this season looks set to be an absolute cracker. Many journalists and media sites around the world were surprised when the Indian Premier League announced they would be kicking off the season as usual. But for fans of betting, and indeed cricket enthusiasts, this comes as welcomed news. We all can’t wait to see how the new season unfolds.