The Grand Indian T20 league has set the bells ringing as we are now just around two weeks from the commencement of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League, teams have already set-up their camps and have begun intense practice ahead of the tournament. While the main string Indian players are occupied on International duty against the Englishmen, they are expected to join the respected teams by the end of the month.
When one talks about the IPL, we can not just ignore the success of two teams in the tournament- namely- Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. The teams share a staggering eight titles between them with Mumbai Indians doing better with 5 titles and the latest coming at the very last season. It was rather an uncharacteristic season for the Men in Yellow and their followers as for the first time in the history of the league, MS Dhoni and Co. failed to qualify for the play-offs.
With the league now back to India and MS Dhoni, not part of the Indian side anymore the limelight will be on the most successful Indian skipper as he will be leading the Chennai Super Kings to their 4th title hunt.
With all teams fighting it hard to get to the top, CricWizz takes a look at the top three contenders for the prestigious IPL 2021 title.
1) Mumbai Indians
Well, not a surprise. Yes, the five-time champions are a team that are always in contention for the title as they have one of the most balanced sides in the tournament and their blend of experience and raw young talent has transformed the team into an impeccable side. The onus will once again be on the rising stars- Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar as they will now have more responsibilities on their shoulders after having played for India at the highest level.
The Men in Blue once again had a relatively quiet outing at the recently concluded auction, having just made two big buys at the auction of Nathan Coulter-Nile for 5 crores and the kiwi pacer Adam Milne for 3.2 crores. This does suggest that the 5 times champions are almost certain to feature the same playing combination as the last season.
Their skipper- Rohit Sharma was struck with a blow on his right elbow during the 1st ODI between India and England, played on Tuesday. Though the injury does not seem threatening enough, the MI camp would be hoping the 33-year old is at his best for the upcoming season.
2) Chennai Super Kings
The second most successful side in the Indian Premier League led by Indian legend MS Dhoni. Last year they didn't have the services of stalwarts Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo which derailed the team's performances in the IPL 2020. Suresh Raina had opted out of participation in the tournament due to personal reasons and Dwayne Bravo ruled out after 6 matches due to injury. Due to a lack of able backup players, the team had a tough go in last year's competition.
The three-time champions went into IPL 2021 auctions with a purse of INR 22.90 Cr, looking for able players who could step in when the team needed. With the buys of all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham and English all-rounder Moeen Ali, CSK has a strong number of players who can contribute in both facets of the game. They further strengthened their top order with the trade of Robin Uthappa and Cheteshwar Pujara, the Indian test batsman with a point to prove.
With the return of the aforementioned players missing in last season, and some smart buys in the auction. CSK has really strengthened their top and middle orders which was found lacking many times last season. The management’s only concern will be the availability of Ravindra Jadeja, who is recovering from his thumb surgery.
3) Royal Challengers Bangalore
A team with plenty of batting riches, but often found lacking in the bowling department. Virat Kohli's lead side will be finally looking to break their jinx in this competition after reaching the finals on two different occasions. The management has been pushing to find greater balance in the teams in recent seasons and lessen the burden on Virat Kohli and AB de Villers's shoulders.
After a much-improved showing in last year's IPL, they entered IPL 2021 auction with one of the biggest purses among the franchises. The management recognized the need for an off-spinning all-rounder and a marquee name that can share responsibility with the Indian skipper and South African legend. They fulfilled both needs with the purchase of Glen Maxwell, and further strengthened with the purchases of Kyle Jamieson and Daniel Christian.
With their recent finds of Devdutt padikkal and Washington Sundar, the team seems to have the right mix of local talent and international superstars with experience in every department to finally win the long alluded trophy. Last year's find Josh Philippe, whose services were retained this year has pulled out of the tournament this year and was replaced by uncapped Kiwi player Finn Allen. Though this might throw a spanner into their plans, the management believes they have the players to overcome this setback.
With every team boasting superstars and potential, the Indian Premier League has become one of the hardest T20 leagues with every team having a chance to win the tournament. Though to rise among them all, these are our picks for the 13th season of IPL. Let us know your thoughts about who you think will win IPL 2021 and who you will be rooting for this year.