Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
The 2016 edition IPL comes just six short days after the West Indies lifted the World T20 Trophy at Eden Gardens in dramatic circumstances, beating England in the final over of the game.
Players, fans and punters alike now turn their attention the IPL having barely had time to catch their breath since that final as we dive head first into the planet's premier franchise T20 competition. Below we'll take a look at the teams and the outright betting.
Delhi Daredevils 15/1
While they did endure a torrid campaign in 2015 which saw them finish second bottom on the IPL standings, the Delhi Daredevils come into this tournament looking a lot stronger than they did last season, even if they haven’t really got the support of the bookmakers. They’ve managed to retain the services of South African trio, Imran Tahir, Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy while also adding the likes of Joel Paris and Chris Morris, who are quickly making names for themselves in the shortest format of the game.
Much of the expectation will fall squarely on the shoulders of the leg-spin duo of Amit Mishra and Tahir who provide the Delhi franchise with a constant wicket-taking threat. Paddy Upton will also be well excited to work with Carlos Brathwaite following his heroics in the World T20 final. Following their shambolic 2015 showing, they definitely look a better unit moving forward and will spring a surprise or two.
Key Man: Quinton de Kock
The diminutive South African batsman / wicket-keeper has been in sublime form over the last year or so and has seen his stock rise exponentially following his axing from the South African squad after their tour of Bangladesh. He plays without fear and goes hard at the ball from the word go. Whether or not he can create a solid platform for his shaky-looking middle order will be key if they are to prove the surprise package of this tournament.
Squad: Zaheer Khan, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Mohammad Shami, Saurabh Tiwary, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mayank Agarwal, Jayant Yadav, Travis Head, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Imran Tahir, JP Duminy, Albie Morkel, Quinton de Kock, Pawan Negi, Chris Morris, Sanju Samson, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Joel Paris, Sam Billings, Chama Milind, Pratyush Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Saeed Khaleel Ahmed, Akhil Herwadkar, Pawan Suyal.
Kings XI Punjab 7/1
The Kings XI Punjab will be looking for a markedly improved performance following their underwhelming display in the 2015 edition of the IPL where the finished rock-bottom of the table with only three wins to their name. They have made a few improvements to their squad since then, however. The acquisition of Kyle Abbott will give them some much-needed bite with ball in hand. The South African will likely partner Mitchell Johnson at the start of the innings before the spinners come on to tie the opposition batsmen down.
They’ve also managed to secure the services of Farhaan Berhadien and Marcus Stonis who will both add some much-needed depth to the squad with both bat and ball. As is always the case though, the side will look to captain, David Miller as well as Glenn Maxwell and Shaun Marsh to guide them through the tournament. The three have bags of experience at the very highest level and will be keen to go one better than their 2014 when they fell agonisingly short of winning competition, going down by three wickets against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Key Man: David Miller
The South African is rarely outshone by his teammates in this competition. IPL wickets suit his game down to a tee – flat with even bounce. Miller will look to score the majority of his runs with big shots straight down the ground. It’ll be interesting to see how well he handles the increased pressure that captaincy brings following the retirement of Virender Sehwag last year. If he and the rest of the top and middle order fire this year, the Kings XI could well find themselves in the play-off places.
Squad: Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Murali Vijay, Nikhil Naik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Akshar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Johnson, Wriddhiman Saha, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Kyle Abbott, KC Cariappa, Marcus Stoinis, Farhaan Behardien, Pradeep Sahu, Armaan Jaffer, Swapnil Singh.
Kolkata Knight Riders 7/1
The Kolkata Knight Riders followed up their 2014 tournament win with a disappointing fifth-place finish in 2015. They haven’t set the world alight in terms of player acquisitions, however, they’ve managed to hang on to their most prized assets. Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan and Morne Morkel have all been retained while they’ve also secured the services of John Hastings and Jason Holder and Colin Munro.
They possess a solid enough squad with proven match winners in both the batting and the bowling department. Personally, I’d like to see Chris Lynn get a bit of game time this season. The Australian was absolutely sensational in BBL 05 and will be looking to make his mark on the biggest T20 stage of all.
Key Man: Andre Russell
Russell is probably one of the most valuable limited overs players in world cricket at the moment and he’ll be looking to build on the MVP he received in the 2015 edition of the competition by leading his side their third IPL title. He’s a ferociously fast bowler who can just as easily win a game with the bat as he can with the ball. Keep an eye out for him in the field too, the big Jamaican has a penchant for pulling off spectacular catches on the boundary.
Squad: Gautam Gambhir, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Sheldon Jackson, Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan. Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, John Hastings, Jason Holder, Colin Munro, Rajgopal Sathish, Manan Ajay Sharma.
Gujarat Lions 8/1
The Gujarat Lions come into their first ever IPL following the suspension of the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals for the next two seasons following illegal betting and match-fixing. The side have secured the services of some of the biggest names in T20 cricket, including Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Dale Steyn and Aaron Finch.
They may well struggle if some of their bigger international batsmen pick up injuries over the course of the tournament, as they look a bit skint on back-up batsmen. That said, if these guys stay fit, they have every chance of going all the way in the 2016 edition of the IPL. While they do have a wealth of talent at their disposal, I’m not sure they’ve been together long enough (as a unit) to mount a serious challenge.
Key Man: Brendon McCullum
The big man will be well-rested following his retirement from international cricket after New Zealand’s home Test series against Australia. He’s not known as one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket for nothing, and he’ll be keen to put the fear into opposition bowlers.
Squad: Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum, Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Smith, Dhawal Kulkarni, Aaron Finch, Eklavya Dwivedi, Andrew Tye, Ishan Kishan, Jaydev Shah, Shadab Jakati, Pravin Tambe, Pradeep Sangwan, Shivil Kaushik, Aksh Deep Nath, Sarabjeet Ladda, Umang Sharma, Paras Dogra.
Rising Pune Supergiants 9/2
The Rising Pune Supergiants are the other team to have been granted a two-year license to operate in the IPL following the bans imposed on the Super Kings and the Royals. Looking through their squad, they seem to have sacrificed a lot in terms of their bowling in order to put together a massively talented batting line-up, which isn’t the worst way to go in a competition where even the best bowlers on the planet regularly concede over nine runs an over.
Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen, Faf du Plessis, Steve Smith and MS Dhoni make up a formidable top five that rivals even the Royal Challengers’ top order. One feels that they’re going to rely on Ravichandran Ashwin and Adam Zampa to do most, if not all of the damage with the ball. Guys like Irfan Pathan, Scott Boland and R. P. Singh aren’t the most daunting seam trio around and could go for quite a few runs in the competition.
Key Man: Ajinkya Rahane
Rahane is the sort of accumulator that you need in your side if you’re going to do well in any T20 competition. I’m still shocked that it took the Indian management such a long time to get him involved in the World T20. He will hold the innings together while guys like Smith, du Plessis, Dhoni and Pietersen go hard at the bowlers. Expect to see him near the summit of the run-scoring charts come the end of the tournament.
Squad: MS Dhoni, Steven Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mitchell Marsh, Ashwin Murugan, Ishant Sharma, Kevin Pietersen, Irfan Pathan, Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Ashoke Dinda, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, RP Singh, Adam Zampa, Ishwar Pandey, Deepak Chahar, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Ankit Sharma.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 33/10
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have the best top order in the competition and will look to blow their opposition away in the first 10 overs of each game. Chris Gayle will likely open the batting with two-time MVP, Shane Watson. They’ll be followed into the crease by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers – arguably two of the best limited overs batsmen the world has ever seen.
It’s hard to believe that a squad of this immense talent has never won an IPL title, finishing as runners-up in 2009 and 2011 before finishing third last year. They’re the team to beat heading into this season, and with the wealth of batting talent available to coach Daniel Vettori, I can definitely see them claiming their first IPL title.
Key Man: Virat Kohli
Let’s be honest, he is easiliy the best batsman that this format of the game has ever seen. The numbers speak volumes for his talent. Just look as his last four scores in the recently-concluded World T20: 55*, 24, 82* and 89* - not only does he make massive scores, he nearly impossible to dismiss; especially on such batsman friendly wickets. If he brings his World T20 form into the IPL, RCB could well be on their way to a first ever IPL title.
Squad: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Adam Milne, Mitchell Starc, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Kane Richardson, Samuel Badree, Travis Head, Praveen Dubey, Vikramjeet Malik, Akshay Karnewar, Iqbal Abdullah, Sachin Baby, Vikas Tokas.
Mumbai Indians 5/1
Let me start by saying that the Mumbai Indians can and in all likelihood will become the second team to claim back to back IPL titles. They’ve got the best squad in the competition in terms of balance with Rohit Sharma, Lendl Simmons and Ambati Rayudu rounding off a massively talented top order with the likes of Jos Buttler Kieron Pollard and Harbajan Singh to provide the fireworks later on in the innings.
I also really like the look of their seam attack. Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga are two of the best T20 seamers in the world at the minute while Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee provide outstanding depth.
Key Man: Jos Buttler
There’s a lot of hype surrounding Buttler’s availability to play in the IPL. The English wicket-keeper has been in magnificent touch of late and has built a reputation as a match-winning middle-order batsman. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on this season.
Squad: Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ambati Rayudu, Jagadeesha Suchith, Jasprit Bumrah, Parthiv Patel, R Vinay Kumar, Shreyas Gopal, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Unmukt Chand, Akshay Wakhare, Mitchell McClenaghan, Corey Anderson, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard, Marchant de Lange, Lasith Malinga, Jos Buttler, Nathu Singh, Tim Southee, Krunal Pandya, Kishore Pramod Kamath, Deepak Punia, Jitesh Sharma.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 8/1
The Sunrisers Hyderabad are the perennial under-achievers. Having only been formed in 2013, they finished fourth in their first season and sixth in their subsequent two seasons. They have a solid squad, but are nowhere near the likes of the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Kane Williamson, Eoin Morgan and Yuvraj Singh complete a top order which could theoretically challenge for a top four place, however, Williamson is the only player of the four who is in any sort of form at the moment.
Trent Boult and a renewed Ashish Nehra will likely lead a pretty weak bowling attack that will likely get plastered all over the show during the tournament.
Key Man: Kane Williamson
Williamson will play a similar role to that of Ajinkya Rahane for the Rising Pune Supergiants. He’ll have to be the glue that holds the innings together while Warner, Dhawan, Singh and Morgan go hard at opposition bowlers.
Squad: Ashish Reddy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bipul Sharma, Karn Sharma, KL Rahul, Naman Ojha, Parvez Rasool, Ricky Bhui, Shikhar Dhawan, Siddharth Kaul, David Warner, Moises Henriques, Eoin Morgan, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Deepak Hooda, Mustafizur Rahman, Aditya Tare, Barinder Singh Sran, Ben Cutting, Vijay Shankar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Tirumalsetti Suman.
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