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MI vs CSK vs DC vs SRH – Which team will rule IPL 2020?

The Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings (MI vs CSK) fixture will kick-off the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on September 19. Three months ago, it seemed next to impossible to think that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could manage to pull off an extravagant tournament like the IPL given the current circumstances. Credit where it’s due, the BCCI along with the IPL General Committee have worked tirelessly to make IPL 2020 possible.

MI vs CSK will see the finalists of last year going head to head once again in the curtain raiser. Mumbai went on to lift the trophy by defeating Chennai by a run, and the latter would be out to extract revenge. Post that, there will be 55 blockbuster league matches which will decide the four teams who will compete in the playoffs. With the advent of T20 cricket, data and analytics has evolved massively. The teams spend a lot of time to prepare their strategies which are backed by statistics.

Here we take a look at how Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad are shaping up ahead of the tournament.

 

MUMBAI INDIANS (MI)

Starting with the defending champions andrecord four-time winners of the IPL, Mumbai Indians. They go into IPL 2020 as the clear favourites and will be looking to break the jinx of not winning the title in an even-numbered year. They will be without their key bowler Lasith Malinga who has pulled out of the tournament citing personal reasons. So, that opens up a spot for a new overseas player to replace ‘Slinga’.

First-Choice Overseas Players

Kieron Pollard was the player of the tournament in the recently-concluded Caribbean Premier League 2020, and will be an automatic pick for the overseas spot. Quinton De Kock has had some stellar seasons on the top of the order, so he’ll most likely keep his position and will also don the wicket keeping gloves. Trent Boult should take the new ball for Mumbai Indians and could be a great replacement for Lasith Malinga.

The spot for the fourth overseas player is up for grabs. If MI want a top-order batsman then the hard-hitting player, Chris Lynn will get an opportunity to make his debut for them. In past seasons, Mumbai have always gone in with two overseas bowlers along with Jasprit Bumrah, so Nathan Coulter-Nile, who was a big purchase for them in the auction seems like the player to back at number eight, as he can score some handy runs with the bat as well.

Mitchell McClenaghan has been a player the team likes and he has delivered them success in the past as well. They have roped in James Pattinson as a replacement for Lasith Malinga and he could be the x-factor needed in that team with his extra pace and bounce.

Strengths

The best thing about them is that the core of the team is pretty settled and the same seven-eight players feature consistently in the playing eleven. The Indian players are top personalities who play in the national team. The key, however, will be the form of Rohit Sharma, the Pandya brothers and Jasprit Bumrah.

Weaknesses

The last time they played in the UAE in 2014, they had a torrid time. They lost all the five matches they played in those conditions and will look to improve on that straightaway.

Player to watch out for

Ishan Kishan could have a breakthrough season with the bat if given the right opportunities. There’s a lot of hopes pinned on the youngster and so far, he has shown glimpses of what he is capable of doing in the previous seasons. This could be the year for him and he could be used effectively as a floater in that batting line-up.

Probable 11: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah

 

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS (CSK)

The ‘Dad’s Army’ Chennai Super Kings seem ready for another season of defying the conventional thinking in T20 cricket. Chennai will be looking to win their fourth IPL title this time around and match the record of their arch-rivals Mumbai Indians. They are one of the most successful teams in the competition by making it to the playoffs every year they have played in. It has been a turbulent start for the team but they have ‘Thala’ Dhoni to calm everything down and get the team back on the right track.

First-Choice Overseas Players

Just like Mumbai, the Chennai Super Kings have a pretty stable team with the same names featuring consistently. It seems like Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo andImran Tahir will keep their spots in the playing eleven as the top three overseas players.

The absence of ‘Chinna Thala’ Suresh Raina will be a concern for the team. Raina has been an IPL stalwart and that number three position in the batting line-up was purely his. With Raina gone, they may need the experience of Faf du Plessis at the top of the order and he might take the fourth spot. If they look to open with someone like Ambati Rayudu or Ruturaj Gaikwad then they get the license to play an out-and-out overseas fast bowler in Lungi Ngidi or Josh Hazlewood.

With the conditions in UAE supposed to suit spinners, Mitchell Santner could be a handy option with both bat and ball. They also have an option of playing England all-rounder Sam Curran and the team could take a gamble on him by making him open the innings along with Shane Watson.

Strengths

MS Dhoni’s captaincy and leadership both on and off the field will be the key for the team. The Indian core group of Dhoni, Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and Deepak Chahar seems like a strong one. The all-round abilities of Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Jadeja and Jadhav give the team the much-needed balance.

Weaknesses

Suresh Raina’s absence will for sure hurt the team. Most of the players are past their prime and with so little cricket under their belt, it could be an issue in the early part of the season.

Player to watch out for

Ruturaj Gaikwad seems like the perfect option to fill that gaping hole in the CSK batting line-up. In the last two years in List A cricket in India, no one has scored more runs than Gaikwad. He has been on the radar of MS Dhoni for some time now and this could be his perfect opportunity to shine.

Probable 11: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c) (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir

 

DELHI CAPITALS (DC)

The surprise package of the 2019 IPL, Delhi Capitals will be hoping to win their first-ever IPL trophy. They are led by Shreyas Iyer as their captain and Australian legend Ricky Ponting as the head coach of the team. The team is built around the Indian players who are at the top of their game currently. They look a little short on the overseas players and that could be a concern for them in IPL 2020.

First-Choice Overseas Players

From the outside, it seems like they are backing Shimron Hetmyer to have a stellar IPL campaign at number three. Kagiso Rabada seems like the first choice for the overseas spot. Keemo Paul had a decent stint in the 2019 IPL with Delhi and he can keep his spot in the team as well.

They need a finisher in that team, so they could either go with Marcus Stoinis or Alex Carey to do that job for them at number 6. Stoinis gives them an option with the ball as well. With the pitches getting slower and lower as the tournament progresses they can include Sandeep Lammichanne in the team, as he isalso handy in the powerplay overs. They have roped in Australian player Daniel Sams as a replacement for Jason Roy and also have Anrich Nortje if they need to rest Kagiso Rabada.

Strengths

The Delhi Capitals potentially have the best Indian players in their team. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ravinchandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma are all current Indian players and are on top of their game.

Weaknesses

The overseas players’ department seems to be weak for the Capitals. They are relatively top-heavy and lack that finisher in the team. They’ll have to get Rishabh Pant to do the finisher’s job for them, and that means he’ll miss out on having an impact in the early stages of their innings.

Player to watch out for

It seems all set for Prithvi Shaw to have an IPL of a lifetime. He’ll get the opportunity to bat at the top of the order and the team will need him to play big innings and not just give quick-fire starts to them.

Probable 11: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetymer, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Marcus Stoinis, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Keemo Paul, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma

 

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD (SRH)

Winners of the 2016 IPL edition, Sunrisers Hyderabad have been amongst the most consistent teams since their inception. They finished fourth last season and this time will be led by David Warner whose IPL stats are incredible.

First-Choice Overseas Players

David Warner will lead the team so he automatically becomes the first overseas player in the squad. His partnership with Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order was too lethal for the opposition so SRH will be hoping for the duo to continue their dominance at the opening spot.

Rashid Khan is amongst the best T20 bowlers in the world and he easily walks into that team. For the fourth overseas spot, there’ll be a toss-up between Mohammad Nabi, Kane Willamson or Fabien Allen. Depending on the conditions, the team will go horses for courses.

They have the Australian pair of Mitchell Marsh and Billy Stanlake in the reserves as well but they seem down on the pecking order. They could be handy options in the latter stage of the tournament.

Strengths

The overseas players in the team are gun players and will walk into any T20 team of the world. The opening partnership of Warner and Bairstow is as strong as it gets in this format. Manish Pandey’s consistent performances over the years will also be a positive for the team. The Indian fast bowling options in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddhart Kaul and Khaleel Ahmed are amongst the best options in the league.

Weakness

The lack of a finisher and the weak middle order still haunts the team. The Indian batsmen are just not good enough and that could be a concern for the team. Apart from Rashid Khan, the other spin bowling options aren’t up to the mark.

Player to watch out for

If Mohammad Nabi is given an extended run in the team, then his ability with both bat and ball would prove to be more than useful for Hyderabad. He is coming into IPL 2020 with some star performances in CPL 2020.

Probable 11: David Warner (c),  Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddhart Kaul

Read: How are KKR, KXIP, RR and RCB shaping up for IPL 2020?

 

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