The 2021 Indian Premier League forges ahead and returns to home soil even if none of the teams will be afforded games at their traditional bases.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
The tournament is set to rotate through six hubs in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai.
Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore | Friday 9 April | 16:00
To Win Match
Royal Challengers 27/20
The defending champions Mumbai Indians get the tournament underway against perennial pretenders the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli are reunited for yet another run at winning the IPL for RCB with a litany of disappointments in the tournament for two modern greats in the past.
Mumbai Indians possess a strong core of local players who are augmented by experienced internationals like Quinton de Kock and Kieron Pollard.
Mumbai are traditionally slow starters in the tournament while the Royal Challengers often start strong only to fade away later in the IPL.
Verdict: Mumbai Indians 62/100
The Indians, with all of their tournament pedigree, are tipped to open up with a win.
Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Capitals | Saturday 10 April | 16:00
To Win Match
Super Kings 5/4
The Chennai Super Kings will be eager to bounce back from a disappointing campaign in 2020 and start against the runners-up from the last edition of the T20 spectacular, the Delhi Capitals.
The Capitals will have been delighted to secure the release of Kagiso Rabada, who has been their standout performer in the last two editions.
CSK’s glorious leader, MS Dhoni, remains at the helm with an awful lot to prove in the IPL this season. Dhoni looked in good touch in the team’s intra-squad warm-ups but the team as a whole needs to improve.
The Super Kings have won 15 of the 23 IPL matches between these two sides but lost both of their 2020 meetings with the Capitals.
Verdict: Delhi Capitals 67/100
Back the Delhi outfit to bag an early win against the Super Kings.
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders | Sunday 11 April | 16:00
To Win Match
Knight Riders 92/100
The Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders are a pair of teams who haven’t quite reached the heights their fans might have expected. Both teams have won the tournament before and could do it again, but the IPL is an unpredictable environment.
KKR have a top six loaded with big-hitters, but concerns remain over their bowling strength.
The Sunrisers have established talents in their top order but their strength is still their bowling unit which includes the mercurial Rashid Khan.
England stars Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow have the potential to be match-turners for either side in a contest that could be heavily influenced by the toss.
Verdict: Sunrisers Hyderabad 92/100
Questions remain over the strength and depth of KKR’s bowling attack. With this in mind, get on the Sunrisers to win.
Rajasthan Royals vs Punjab Kings | Monday 12 April 2021 | 16:00
To Win Match
The last two teams to get into the action are sides that will be eager to make amends for poor displays in 2020.
The Royals finished dead last in the UAE and that while sporting the likes of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. They have all the ingredients for success, but it remains to be seen if their new chef, Sanju Samson knows the recipe.
Chris Gayle remains the lynchpin of the rebranded Punjab Kings, who failed to mount significant challenges as the Kings XI Punjab. Aussie quick Jhye Richardson has been added into the mix, after being bought at a premium at auction. For the price they paid, the Kings will hope that Richardson can really turn it on.
The Punjab Kings might have an opportunity to catch the Royals cold with Archer missing the start of the tournament through injury.
Verdict: Rajasthan Royals 92/100
The Royals boast an array of game-changers who should be able to make the difference in what promises to be a tightly-contested fixture.