It has been over six months since Indian players have not played any International cricket because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The cases in India are increasing rapidly as the days pass by and hence the Indian board decided to shift the IPL in UAE where it will be played on three different venues-Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
The top two teams of last year Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will clash against each other and it will be interesting to see which team uses the conditions better and starts off in a style.
The conditions in UAE will be the key factor as it will be very hot and humid. It’s to be seen how the players will adapt and adjust the prevailing conditions quickly.
The Indian players must be bit rusty as they haven’t played any competitive games for nearly six months but, players from West Indies, England and Australia will have a slight edge as they have played competitive cricket in England and are in good touch.
Mumbai Indians looks as the favourite to start with as their core players are the same the only player they will be missing is Malinga who is one of the best death bowlers in this format.
CSK will be missing one of their best T20 player Suresh Raina for their initial games and most of their players are senior cricketers whose average age is 31 years.
To understand better let’s do a SWOT analysis of both the teams
MI greatest strength is the self-belief that they can come back from any situations, they have match winners like Rohit, Pollard, Pandya brothers and Jasprith Bumrah. They have a very good record of performing consistently hence won the titles four times. Rohit Sharma is a very astute captain who leads from the front and players respect him a lot.
Have big hitters hence they lack batsmen who can rotate strike in the middle overs. Most of them are big hitters but on turning and slow pitches they need someone to work around and anchor one end.
Though they have Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar their spin department looks bit weak. They can contain the batsmen but you need someone to be a game changer and take wickets in the middle overs.
They will be missing Malinga big time as he was the best death bowler along with Bumrah they could have troubled the best batting line ups. They always bowled in pairs especially at the death but Trent Boult could fit in well there. Hardik Pandya is returning after a long break, he hasn’t played competitive cricket for a while.
More experienced players who have delivered under pressure like MS Dhoni, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo and Ambati Rayudu.
Raina’s departure leaves a huge void at the No. 3 spot. Also absence of Harbhajan will be felt as he was the most experience spinner they had.
Youngsters like Ruturaj Gaikwad could make a mark for himself and advantage will be that of Dhoni who has retired from international cricket can bat freely and bit higher up the order. He can double up as an anchor as well as finisher.
They had set back after setback with Raina going away and then players and support staff being tested positive, hence could not get enough time for preparation in UAE.
Both the teams will be looking to start on a winning note as this will set the tone for the tournament. Looking at the analysis MI looks to be a better side, but in cricket you can’t predict till the game is won. The team which reads the pitch better and quicker will be the winner because it will all depend on what will be the par score if you are batting first and how well they can defend that total.
Let’s have a cracker of a game and may the best team win – cheers for a successful IPL.