We’ve teamed up with Chris Gayle and The Boss just can’t wait for the new IPL season to start! And of course, so do we! So here’s the ultimate guide to the 2021 campaign…
Ahead of the 2020 edition of the IPL, we successfully predicted the Mumbai Indians would go on to win at odds of 5.00 in what was their fifth IPL title.
We can’t promise to pick the 2021 IPL winner, but we’ll certainly do our best!
A quick look at the odds suggest that the eight teams are pretty much divided into two categories: the ones who are considered proper candidates, and the ones who aren’t.
So, in the first category we have:
The teams not expected to win, but some of whom are perfectly capable of doing it anyway, are:
Can Mumbai do it again as IPL favourites?
Yes, of course they can. They’re the most successful side in the history of the competition, they have the best side again this year and have kept most of the side that won it last year.
However, there’s a difference between being the best side and being the best value side from a betting point of view.
At odds of 3.75 you’re getting a smaller return on your money than you would have last year and it’s extremely hard to win one IPL, yet alone three in a row. So, we’ll swerve Mumbai.
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Are RCB, KKR or SRH good bets?
RCB? No, thanks. They get it wrong year after year at the auction and then again on the field. Why should this year be any different?
Delhi look a good side and they have lots of power in the batting department, good spinners and the high-class duo of South Africans in Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. The problem is they don’t handle the big occasions too well. They lost to Mumbai both in the Qualifier and then again in the Final last year. Yes, the Mumbai Indians were the best side, but you can’t win an IPL if you never beat the best teams.
Hyderabad will be extremely competitive, as ever. Rashid Khan will no doubt be brilliant again and David Warner is likely to score lots of runs; Jonny Bairstow probably will, as well. A fit Bhuvi Kumar will be a big boost with the new ball after being injured for almost the whole season last year.
The problem with SRH is they can’t set or chase big totals. They’re suited to winning low-scoring games but if the par score is 200, they’re going to be in trouble.
Royals can’t be trusted
How can we trust a side who year after year fail to make the Play-Offs? We can’t.
The Royals have a poorly balanced side where they have superstar overseas players like Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler but don’t have enough quality among the Indian players.
Big mistake. A cricket team is made up of 11 players, not seven or eight and a lack of quality among the Indian ones may well cost them. It also didn’t help that they made South-African all-rounder Chris Morris the highest-paid player of any at this year’s auction. Good player, yes. But he’s not an Andre Russell or Kieron Pollard and by spending all that money on him, they had less to spend elsewhere.
Chennai can win the 2021 at big odds
A quick word on the Kolkata Knight Riders. They should be a better side under Eoin Morgan this time round but have a slight problem when it comes to scoring quickly at the start of the innings. There’s also a concern that they might be too dependent on the formidable Andre Russell; when he gets injured (which he often does), they struggle without him.
So, our pick are Chennai at 8.00. They may have had a disastrous season last year but there were reasons for that. They lost key men Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina on the eve of the competition and suffered because the IPL was in the UAE, so they didn’t make the most of home advantage in Chennai, like they usually do.
They’ve brought in experienced English all-rounder Moeen Ali to add balance, Raina is back and after giving youngster Ruturaj Gaikwad a chance last year as an opener, they’ll surely play him from the start this time after he impressed in their final few games.
The other thing they did well this season was getting rid of some tired legs in Singh and Shane Watson. They have enough experience already and some fresh blood will do them good.
And with MS Dhoni in charge as per usual, anything is possible.
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Players to watch for the IPL 2021 season
Kyle Jamieson is an exciting young Kiwi all-rounder at RCB and it’s good to see veteran Aussie all-rounder Dan Christian, also at RCB, back in the IPL.
Rishabh Pant of Delhi is in the form of his life with the bat right now and perhaps most intriguing of all is Arjun Tendulkar, son of the Little Master, who has joined his father’s old side at Mumbai.
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