IPL 2020 is right around the corner. The 2020 season was doomed to be cancelled and seen as yet another sporting event killed off by the virus. But the BCCI really do deserve all the praise in the world for managing to put together this IPL after all. Sure, this season may be somewhat different than others, what with no audience in the stadiums and the games being played in the UAE, but hey, it’s still the biggest cricket league in the world, and it’s here.
In this article, I will be predicting the rankings of the IPL 2020. Here they are!
8. Kings XI Punjab
KXIP is one of the teams who has never won an IPL trophy. And unfortunately for KXIP fans it does not seem like they will break the trend this year.
Their opening pair of Universe Boss Gayle and Captain KL Rahul is easily one of the best in the whole IPL, but their middle order is easily one of the worst. They have some talented Indian batsmen but nobody who can really be trusted to o out and win you games against world-class bowling attacks.The bowling department seems average at best, with the pace attack being especially thin. Barring Mohammed Shami and Sheldon Cottrell, they have no other pacer who presents a strong case for himself. They are better equipped with spinners though, with Mujeeb Rahman spearheading their attack, which will be especially important on the dry UAE pitches.
Glenn Maxwell will be their key player. He is coming off a great series against Australia, where he was awarded the Player Of The Series. If he can replicate performances like those, KXIP may have a shot at getting the title, but the shot is a pretty long one.
7. Kolkata Knight Riders
This might be a controversial pick, but I really don’t see the Knight Riders doing well this IPL. Their team is one of the most imbalanced teams to ever exist. They have 3 candidates for the opening spots, and whoever doesn’t get the spot has to play straight at No.7 instead. There is no in between. That should give you an idea of how inflexible the team is. Plus, they don’t really have a middle order. They have their openers, one middle order batsman, and then they have all the lower-order big hitting finishers. If they lose quick wickets at the start, the team is going to collapse like a deck of cards.
Honestly, the only reason KKR has been doing decently well in recent seasons is their West-Indian firepower. Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have been carrying this team ever since the 2018 mega-auction. Last season, Andre Russell had both the most runs in the team (he bats at no.5 or 6!) and the most wickets in the team (he’s not even a full-time bowler!). And Sunil Narine is the only player in the IPL who opens the innings and also bowls 4 overs regularly. If ‘two-man army’ was a phrase, KKR would be the perfect team to use it on.
6. Sunrisers Hyderabad
SRH was undoubtedly the strongest team after the 2018 mega-auction. But over the years, they have deteriorated somehow. Their renowned Indian fast bowling attack that was once considered to be ‘several planets’ (go here to find out what that means 😉 ) doesn’t look as dangerous anymore. Maybe it’s because it’s been 3 years since these talents were picked up by SRH but none of them have burst onto the international scene yet. And, as seems to be a trend with teams I have picked till now, their middle order is extremely weak. They will have to play 2 inexperienced IPL debutants in their XI in Virat Singh and Priyam Garg/Abdul Samad.
Their opening combination however, is definitely the best in the league. Warner and Bairstow have proved to be deadly when batting together. With Warner retaining his captaincy role, they can also play Mohammad Nabi now since they aren’t obligated to use up one of their overseas spots playing ex-captain Kane Williamson. Nabi will give much needed support to the lower order, and will also strengthen the spin attack, which is led by his fellow countryman and the best T20 bowler in the world, Rashid Khan. So it isn’t like they don’t have big names, it’s just that the big names have no planets ( again – go here! ) to back them up.
5. Chennai Super Kings
I am really dishing them controversial opinions out today! I may get lynched in the street for this, but yes I do not see CSK making it to the playoffs. Yeah it would be a great story – MS Dhoni retires from Team India because BCCI didn’t treat him well, CSK teammate Raina follows suit, then both come to CSK where their heart is and win the IPL and stick it to the haters. It was unlikely to begin with, but now it’s impossible because Raina has withdrawn from the IPL this season. No Cinderella stories for us this season!
The team atmosphere at CSK, wich everyone speaks so highly of, seems to be weird this year. 2 players have withdrawn from the IPL already, 11 members contracted COVID-19, and the team owner went around calling players ‘divas’. So yeah. Plus, most of the players are fathers and they weren’t allowed to bring their families to UAE with them, like in other IPL seasons. We may not consider things like these as deciding factors, but in every cricketer or every athlete for that matter consider being happy and relaxed mentally as one of the key elements of performing well.
Talking about the team, it is definitely not a championship-winning team. Qualifying for the playoffs however is quite possible. Their spin attack which is touted as the best in the IPL, will enjoy the turning tracks of UAE immensely. Their fast bowling will be led by Indian youngster, Deepak Chahar. The batting doesn’t look too special, and maybe they are relying a little too much on Dhoni. Oerall, this is an average team who may do something unprecedentedly special, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Stay tuned for my Top 4 Predictions!