Those who have been following our IPL tips and predictions for the past two seasons here on the 10CRIC’s blog certainly have their pockets full of profit. Ahead of the 2020 season we picked the Mumbai Indians to win at odds of 5.0, and we went one better last year, picking CSK to win at odds of 8.0 and this despite them having had a really poor season in 2020, famously failing to qualify for the Playoffs for the first time in their history.
With the IPL 2022 just around the corner, using our insight, stats and knowledge, we’ll certainly do our best to pick this season’s winner too, in what is a tough betting heat!
Two new teams this IPL season
Ten teams in the IPL
But let’s recap the news quickly. The IPL is now made up of ten teams, not eight. The Lucknow Super Giants and the Gujarat Titans joined the competition ahead of the 2022 season. The extra teams caused a reshuffle in the structure of the competition.
Rather than a double round-robin (everyone plays everyone twice), the ten teams are now split into two groups of five. Here are the groups, which were determined by historic results in terms of making the final or winning it:
|Group A||Group B|
|Mumbai Indians||Chennai Super Kings|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||Sunrisers Hyderabad|
|Rajasthan Royals||Royal Challengers Bangalore|
|Delhi Capitals||Punjab Kings|
|Lucknow Super Giants||Gujarat Titans|
New format for 2022
Each team will play every other side in their group twice across four venues: three in Mumbai and one in Pune. But then they’ll also play all the other members of the ‘other Group’ once and one of the teams from the other group twice. The team they play twice is the corresponding team in the opposite Group, as per the seedings.
So, using the table above as a guide, Mumbai will play CSK twice, while KKR will meet SRH twice as well. But, as an example, KKR will only play CSK once in the Group Stages.
- Even though the teams are split into two groups, there’s only one table for the ten teams, not two. That means that when all the Group matches have been played, the format for the Playoffs remains the same. The Top 2 get two bites of the cherry at making the final.
- They’ll first contest the Qualifier 1 (winner goes straight to the final) and then the loser comes back and gets a second go at making the final by playing the Qualifier 2.
- The teams finishing third and fourth play each other in the Eliminator for the right to take on the loser of the Qualifier 1 in the all-or-nothing Qualifier 2. Which is how KKR made the final last year.
The Mega Auction
In a bid to freshen things up, the original eight IPL teams were only allowed to retain a maximum of four players ahead of the Mega Auction (in the case of Punjab, they decided to only retain just two). The fewer players the IPL team retained, the more money they had to spend in the auction.
The two new sides had the chance to each buy three players pre-auction, and they took this opportunity to make sure one of them was their skipper.
- Lucknow went for former Punjab man KL Rahul
- Gujarat opted for ex-Mumbai all-rounder Hardik Pandya to lead the team, despite Pandya having little or no captaincy experience
Noteworthy, Ishan Kishan (Mumbai), Deepak Chahar (CSK) and Shreyas Iyer (KKR) were among the most expensive purchases in the actual Mega Auction.
Best bets for IPL 2022
If the task of picking an IPL winner wasn’t an easy one at the best of times, it’s even harder now with two extra teams, a different format, and revamped squads that look little or nothing like they did last year…
‘Old gang’ CSK dangerous as ever
CSK hate change. It explains why they’ve had the same skipper since day one in the IPL, why they haven’t been keen on letting important players go or why they haven’t been fussed about getting too many new ones in. Yes, they let Ravi Ashwin go a few years ago and bringing in Moeen Ali last year was a masterstroke; but those are the exceptions to the rule.
By retaining Ruturaj Gaikwad, MS Dhoni, Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja, they formed a crucial backbone for the 2022 season, securing themselves a prolific opening batsman, a middle-order wicketkeeper and captain, and two world class all-rounders.
They then went back to the auction and also brought back Dwayne Bravo, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu and at great cost, Deepak Chahar. The latter is the possible fly in the ointment: he was really expensive, but got injured on India duty a few days later and not only are they likely to be without him for the whole thing, but they won’t be able to replace him.
Chris Jordan, England’s top wicket-taker in T20I cricket and Devon Conway, the New Zealand opener, are good additions. Under the brilliant captaincy of Dhoni and with the same management team as ever, you’d expect them to go close.
TIP Deepak Chahar aside, the team looks very solid, and they can field seven of the 11 that won the final last year.
Rajasthan Royals can end years of hurt
In the week when we lost the great Shane Warne, it’s worth remembering that he was the inspirational skipper who led the Royals to the inaugural IPL as huge outsiders. It was one of cricket’s big upsets…
And here we are, 15 years later, with the Royals finally looking like they have a team who can go all the away again after years and years of failure. So often it wasn’t just that they were missing out on the Playoffs, they were often finishing seventh or eighth in the Group Stages.
In Sanju Samson they have a good captain who knows the team well, and has been excellent in the IPL over the past few years with the bat. And in Jos Buttler they have one of the world’s most dangerous opening batsmen. The third retained player, Yashasvi Jaiswal, was a slightly strange one, but let’s see if he kicks on this season.
They got Devdutt Padikkal to provide some calm at the top of the order, while Shimron Hetmyer will provide some fireworks in the middle order, though he and the Royals will need to make sure his fitness standards improve. Either way, it’s a strong batting line up filled with players with lots of IPL runs under their belts over the years.
But here’s what we really, really like. By buying Ravi Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal they have two of the very best spinners in the same team. Both regularly play for India, boast excellent economy rates and take wickets. What’s more, they can use Ashwin in the Powerplay overs if they wish, while Chahal will surely bowl in the middle overs. And for good measure, one is an off spinner, the other a leg spinner.
TIP Ravi Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal can really make a big difference because between them, eight overs of top-class spin can go a long way to winning any match. No other IPL team can match them in this regard.