Since the IPL inception in 2008, the league has run like clockwork year in year out, though as from last year, the coronavirus has wreaked havoc in the planning and running of this league. The world’s most lucrative cricket league has enjoyed a passionate following, and the passion is yet to let up. Before the COVID pandemic, the IPL had always been held on home soil except for the 2009 edition, which was hosted in South Africa to pave the way for the hustle and bustle of India’s General Elections held that year.
This year’s edition started in India, but due to the escalation of COVID cases, the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) elected to suspend the league in May. Later that month, after comprehensive consultations, the BCCI announced the resumption of the league in September but changed the location to UAE. This relocation can be attributed to the success of last year’s edition of the IPL, which was held in the UAE with no incidences. By the time the league was going into the forced hiatus, Delhi Capitals was holding on to a slim lead with twelve points, two points ahead of second-place Chennai Super King. Royal Challengers Bangalore rounded off the top three. Sunrisers Hyderabad was dead last with a paltry two points.
The second phase of the IPL will pose challenges to most franchises, particularly those with an over-reliance on foreign players. Many prominent cricket boards plan to bar their players from playing in the second phase of the IPL to concentrate on international duties as the cricket world gears up for the ICC T20 World Cup in October. England and Bangladesh have already sprung this move, with Australia and New Zealand yet to confirm their stance.
The Indian contingent will have to up their game to plug the hole left by the absence of some foreign players. The Caribbean Premier League will also be held before then, and they is always the chance that some of the IPL mega stars participating there may be injured.
However, let’s look at possible positions of these IPL franchises at the end of the league stage of the IPL from IPL match prediction.
8th Place Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad seems unlikely to shake off their dismal start to this season, which has seen them salvage one win out of seven matches. Trevor Bayliss’ side has had a lackluster bowling unit while their middle order seemed uninspired, even costing them a few wins. Coupled with the probable absence of some critical overseas players like Bairstow, Warner and Kane Williamson
7th Place Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
KKR also started the season on the wrong foot winning only two matches out of seven. Their talisman and captain Eoin Morgan’s season has been horrendous, and he might welcome the ECB’s decision to keep its players away from phase two of IPL. KKR also has other doubtful players like Australian Pat Cummings and their star player Andre Russell. Russell will be fresh off playing in the CPL, hopefully with no injuries, for KKR’s sake. The highest KKR can hope for is perhaps to match last year’s fifth position in the IPL, but other teams are better placed.
6th Place Rajasthan Royals (RR)
Rajasthan Royals has been inconsistent in the first leg of the IPL. Their recently appointed captain, Sanju Samson, could not inspire his teammates to perform better in the first half. RR lost four games out of seven in the first leg and is currently ranked fifth. UAE has not been kind to them historically as they finished last in IPL 2020. The men in pink might also be missing some of their stars like Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler, and Mustafizur Rahman
5th Place Punjab Kings (PBKS)
Punjab Kings has won three matches out of eight played and are currently ranked sixth. Last year they could only manage a sixth-place finish in UAE, so they might improve marginally. Luckily for them, BCCI and CWI (Cricket West Indies) held talks and synchronized their calendars to allow players to play seamlessly in both CPL and IPL. Thus Nicholas Pooran and Chris Gayle, who will play in the CPL, might not miss any IPL fixtures. However, Englishmen Chris Jordan and Malan Dawid will be unavailable. PBKS’ ranks will be boosted by the return of KL Rahul, who missed the first half of the IPL due to surgery on his appendix.
4th place Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
Despite starting the season with a promising five wins out of seven matches, RCB may end up in the fourth position after the league stage. Luckily, they will continue to the playoffs, but the competition level might prove too stiff to win the title. Captain Virat Kohli may inspire his team to a strong showing in phase two of the IPL. However, they might be missing Kylie Jamieson and Glenn Maxwell due to international duties.
3rd Place Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians tasted victory in last year’s edition in UAE to clinch their fifth IPL title. The ” Men in Blue” are currently at fourth place with four wins from seven matches. Playing in UAE might boost their confidence after last year’s exploits. New Zealanders Jimmy Neesham and Trent Boult may be missing come September, but most of their core squad is expected to be in action.
2nd place Chennai Super Kings (CSK)
The MS Dhoni-led side has had a splendid run in this year’s IPL, only losing twice in seven matches played. What’s more remarkable is that they have won their last four matches. They are currently ranked second and are likely to maintain the same position by the end of the league stage. However, they are not touted as league winners due to the absences of Moeen Ali and Sam Curran, who have been in distinctive forms for CSK.
Ist Place Delhi Capitals
Delhi Capitals are currently sitting pretty at the top of the IPL table, having won six matches out of eight. They have been the strongest team so far, and their history in UAE is also robust as they emerged second in last year’s edition. Moreover, they have such depth of talent that the presence of a few foreign players may go unnoticed. Shreyas Iyer is also expected to make a comeback so for real and fantasy cricket game fans this is great news.
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