The whistle has already been blown and the preparations are on in full swing for Indian Premier League 2021. After the massive success of IPL 2020 which silenced all doubters being organized in UAE in the backdrop of the pandemic, the teams are now back to the drawing board strategizing for success in the upcoming edition of league. As of now the IPL is all set to return to its March-May window and the BCCI is working on all the modalities to bring the league back to the country and give the fans what is owed to them. Not surprisingly punters are already busy reading IPL predictions for the upcoming season.
The list of players retained and traded recently thew up few surprises. Teams have bit the bullet and released some of the biggest starts in this format of the game. Names like Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell McCleneghan can create a heated race during the upcoming auctions. These players can become a force multiplier for the teams they are picked up and this can change the equation.
As we are days way from the auctions for the new season it is time to come up with early IPL perdition for the 2021 season. The form and temperament of all the sides last season does offer us many clues for the upcoming season and here we shall look at the three teams that we believe would be in contention for the 14th edition of the IPL and also talk about the prospects of the remaining sides.
The defending champions without doubt would be the top contenders for the title. They aren’t only the most successful team ever in the history of the event but also have the perfect mix of youth and experience in their side. It isn’t without a reason that IPL predictions for the upcoming season have them as the favourites. Backed by one of the most professional support staff they have players for every situation and every occasion. Rohit Sharma has matured into one of the best captains in this format with his tactical brilliance that often remaining understated.
Though Mumbai have won the last two titles, it is the Delhi Capitals who have made the biggest headlines. It has been a complete turnaround for the side in the last two seasons under the inspiring leadership of Shreyas Iyer. The young lad is making people take note of his brilliance not only as a captain but also as a player. As one of the youngest sides most players play without any fear and baggage of failures. If there is one side that can match up to Mumbai Indians this season, it will be Deli Capitals.
David Warner’s side is third on our list thanks to the kind of consistency they have shown in the last few years. The side would make it to the playoffs in all probability as they have done in the last five editions of the tournament. It is what that do at the playoffs that would matter to the side as they seem to have developed the bad habit of losing crunch games. They have a bowling attack that is tough to score against and batsmen who can take the game away in no time. They would definitely be aiming for their second title this season.
There has been more news of dressing room conflicts from the Kolkata Knight Riders camp than their performances from the park in the last two seasons. But Eoin Morgan has the stature and the sharpness to turn it around as he will assume full-time leadership of the squad after being put into the hot seat midway in 2020. The side is blessed to have good mix of experience and exciting young talent. They have one of the best blowing attacks with good fast and spin bowling options. We expect to see the side go the distance this season.
Teams in Disarray
It will require a complete turnaround for the remaining teams to lift the IPL 2021 trophy. Here’s why we don’t see much hopes for the upcoming season in the rest of the teams.
• Chennai Super Kings – The Chennai Super Kings are an ageing side and have retained most of their former heroes for the next season. Unless they are able to infuse young talent for this season, the side would struggle to live up to their former glory. While Dhoni the tactician is brilliant as ever, purely on merit as a player he doesn’t justify selection in the squad. Few others looked fatigued in the last season and this isn’t great for the side.
• Royal Challengers Bangalore – Ever year IPL predictions start with optimism about RCB and it fades away within the first few games. Their problem isn’t the lack of star power but more so of it as their young guns haven’t really lived up to the challenge. The team would require players beyond Kohli and ABD to perform for a title win. Their bowling core is poor and they haven’t got it right at the auctions. The team has to kill it at the upcoming auctions to build a winning combination.
• Kings XI Punjab – Take skipper KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal out of the side and there isn’t much left to talk about. While they aren’t short of big names they have failed to play as a cohesive unit over the last many years. Failure seems to have got inside their minds and it reflects during crunch games. Chris Gayle isn’t the same as he was a decade back and bowling attack lacks teeth.
• Rajasthan Royals – Royalty seems to have faded away for the inaugural winners of the tournament. Poor choice of players, lack of a strong bowling attack and seasonal captaincy changes has hurt this side. While Sanju Sampson has been named the skipper for the upcoming season there is already criticism about this move. They need to give him time to grow as a leader but the franchise has lacked one thing in the past i.e. PATIENCE.
It’s T20 and we see the birth of new talent every season of the IPL and we hope to see lot of that this season as well. Mumbai Indians would definitely start as favourites but it’s an early call and the balance can shift in the upcoming auctions some several big names up there for grabs.