IPL 2020 Preview: Teams to Watch

IPL 2020 Preview: Teams to Watch

The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to begin in less than a month as fans are getting ready to experience a host of international stars playing together to win the ultimate prize.

The first match of the competition will be played between four-time champions Mumbai Indians and three-time title winners Chennai Super Kings at the historic Wankhede Stadium on March 29 whereas the final of the cash-rich T20 league will be played on May 17 at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

In this tournament preview, we are bringing you some of the details about the defending champions, the favourites and the underdogs for the 13th edition of India's premier T20 competition.

Defending champions: Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians are the most successful team in the history of the competition after managing to lift their fourth title with the victory in the 2019 campaign by beating the then defending champions Chennai Supers Kings in a cliff-hanger of a final by just one run.

For this season, Mumbai have made numerous changes where they released the likes of former middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh, Australia's all-rounder Ben Cutting and New Zealand's right-arm pacer Adam Milne and replaced them with West Indies' left-handed batsman Sherfane Rutherford, New Zealand's veteran pacer Trent Boult and right-arm fast bowler Dhawal Kulkarni.

In the batting department, the team will be relying heavily on captain Rohit Sharma, South Africa's wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, West Indies captain Kieron Pollard and star

The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to begin in less than a month as fans are getting ready to experience a host of international stars playing together to win the ultimate prize.

The first match of the competition will be played between four-time champions Mumbai Indians and three-time title winners Chennai Super Kings at the historic Wankhede Stadium on March 29 whereas the final of the cash-rich T20 league will be played on May 17 at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

In this tournament preview, we are bringing you some of the details about the defending champions, the favourites and the underdogs for the 13th edition of India's premier T20 competition.

Defending champions: Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians are the most successful team in the history of the competition after managing to lift their fourth title with the victory in the 2019 campaign by beating the then defending champions Chennai Supers Kings in a cliff-hanger of a final by just one run.

For this season, Mumbai have made numerous changes where they released the likes of former middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh, Australia's all-rounder Ben Cutting and New Zealand's right-arm pacer Adam Milne and replaced them with West Indies' left-handed batsman Sherfane Rutherford, New Zealand's veteran pacer Trent Boult and right-arm fast bowler Dhawal Kulkarni.

In the batting department, the team will be relying heavily on captain Rohit Sharma, South Africa's wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, West Indies captain Kieron Pollard and star all-rounder Hardik Pandya to score bulk of the runs whereas on the bowling front, the onus will be on the pace trio of Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah and Boult to produce timely breakthroughs.

Favourites: Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings is one of the most successful franchises in the history of IPL after having won the tournament three times—in 2010, 2011 and 2018. Not only that but Chennai have the record for the most number of finals appearances in the competition's history—eight—despite being banned for two seasons. Overall, Chennai have the best win percentage of 61.28 amongst all the franchises in the IPL history with 100 wins in 165 matches.

In the 2019 edition, MS Dhoni-led franchise suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the final against the eventual winners by just a single run despite being nicely placed in a chase of 150. For this season, Chennai have just released few of their players including England's duo of Sam Billings, David Willey and veteran right-arm pacer Mohit Sharma but there are no major incomings to take note of.

In the batting department, the team will be relying on the likes of former South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis, left-handed batsman Suresh Raina, former Australian opening batsman Shane Watson and captain Dhoni to produce bulk of the runs whereas on the bowling front, the onus will be on the likes of pacers Josh Hazlewood, Sam Curran, Lungi Ngidi along with spin trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh to produce timely breakthroughs.

Underdogs: Sunrises Hyderabad

Sunrises Hyderabad have become a real force in the IPL over the last few years. The franchise went on to win their maiden title in the 2016 edition by beating Royal Challengers Bangalore by just seven runs in the final. Overall, Hyderabad have an impressive win percentage of 53.70 in 108 matches in the tournament's history.

For this season, the franchise have not made any major signing but let go veteran New Zealand opener Martin Guptill, former Indian all-rounder Yusuf Pathan and Bangladesh's star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.

Hyderabad will be relying on the likes of England's wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow, Australia's explosive opener David Warner and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson to score bulk of the runs whereas on the bowling front, the onus will be on the likes of veteran pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Afghanistan's star leg-spinner Rashid Khan to produce timely breakthroughs.        

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Azeem Siddiqui
Passionate sports follower in the field of sports journalism for more than five years. Loves writing about cricket, football, and tennis.
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